Recording police officers on the street and during routine traffic stops is expressly permitted under the First Amendment.
But cops everywhere don’t always seem to know that, and will arrest people for merely exercising their right to record police encounters. Two recent incidents in New York City and Broward County, Florida underscore this sad fact.
Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy William O’Brien became irate recently after learning that the woman he stopped on the highway was using her cell phone to make an audio recording of the encounter. He insisted–wrongly–that the woman was committing a felony, and ordered her to hand over her phone. The woman, Brandy Burning, refused, prompting O’Brien to climb inside the car and struggle with her.
Burning ended up with a sprained wrist, bruised cheek and an overnight stay in jail. She was charged with resisting arrest.
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