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ACLU Sues Police Over Videotaping Of Officers

January 24, 2013 by  

ACLU Sues Police Over Videotaping Of Officers
On Sunday, photographer Carlos Miller and a friend were assaulted by armed thugs at the Miami-Dade Metrorail.

Although Federal courts have upheld the rights of citizens to record police activities in public, police and other law enforcement officers continue to intimidate and often wrongfully arrest people who do it.

For instance, on Sunday, photographer Carlos Miller and a friend were assaulted by armed thugs at the Miami-Dade Metrorail. Miller’s crime? He was using his phone to video the station.

Miller runs the website Photography Is Not A Crime, so he knew he was well within his rights to photograph public places as well as his police encounter. He already has a lawsuit pending against Miami-Dade Metrorail for a previous assault by a security guard. The latest incident will probably escalate the suit to Federal court.

The American Civil Liberties Union last week filed a lawsuit on behalf of a Temple University photojournalism student who was arrested by Philadelphia police two years ago.

Chris Montgomery and a friend were in downtown Philadelphia when they saw a dispute involving a group of teens. When police responded, Montgomery used his iPhone to record the action. Police later approached Montgomery and told him to stop recording. Montgomery was arrested, his phone was confiscated and he was held in a cell for 45 minutes. When he was released, the video had been deleted from his phone.

The complaint is the first of several that the Pennsylvania ACLU plans to file alleging retaliatory behavior by officers, attorney Mary Catherine Roper told The Washington Post. It seeks monetary damages and confirmation of the public’s right to videotape.

“It is not and, under our Constitution, could not be a crime,” the lawsuit states.

According to the suit, Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey issued a memo several months after Montgomery’s arrest instructing officers to allow themselves to be recorded in public. But two people were arrested for videotaping a traffic stop six months after the memo was issued.

All police encounters should be videotaped. Technology has made this a simple task.

However, don’t count on thuggish law enforcement officers respecting your right to do so.

Bob Livingston

is an ultra-conservative American and author of The Bob Livingston Letter™, founded in 1969. Bob has devoted much of his life to research and the quest for truth on a variety of subjects. Bob specializes in health issues such as nutritional supplements and alternatives to drugs, as well as issues of privacy (both personal and financial), asset protection and the preservation of freedom.

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  • roger gunderson

    A lot of our police problems are from the city and state
    departments who want the police to be aggressive and bring in
    as much revenue as possible.

    • Rhonda Reichel

      Speaking of aggressive I read recently that there is a problem with steroids.

      ACLU often does things I don’t agree with but I am glad they are around for things like this because WE PAY THOSE POLICE SALERIES….we are their boss….besides that how can they be above the law? There is no law saying you can’t film anybody.

      • Wellarmed

        Wish I could say that were true, but communist California already has a law enacted that does just that. I believe that what is good for the goose………

      • http://PersonalLiberty James T. Wilbert

        I’m in COMPLETE agrement- and there is no “exspectation of privacy” in a public setting. Especially when you are paid to uphold the law, not act like You ARE the law!

  • Paul Kersey

    I wish the aclu would stand up for the 2nd amendment like they do the first. If you apply the liberal logic about only muskets covered by the 2nd amendment, then cell phones, internet, and video cannot be covered by the first because they did not have the technology back then.

    • JCfromDC

      My theory exactly.

    • Deerinwater

      Paul says; “I wish the ACLU would stand up for the 2nd amendment like they do the first. If you apply the liberal logic about only muskets covered by the 2nd amendment”

      I say ; I’m sure that they would Paul if they seen an “encroachment” and a clear volition of civil liberties as it pertains to the 2nd amendment.

      The right to bear arms does not specify that a private citizen could start and arms race with whomever they wish and possess the right to own any weapon that is manufactured by shear virtue of American Citizenship and all right and privileges the Bill of Rights entails.

      That some people actions and behavior requires laws and liberties to be reviewed and define as to the spirit of any law or ruling is misfortunate to be sure as encroachment is made possible in doing so. But until such encroachment actually take place, there is no case to file.

      What specific encroachment do you see taking place today? Define them and present them to the ACLU or to this board for robust debate.

      • Buster the Anatolian

        “I say ; I’m sure that they would Paul if they seen an “encroachment” and a clear volition of civil liberties as it pertains to the 2nd amendment.”

        I contacted ACLU and inquired about their policy concerning the 2nd amendment and their reply was they would NOT represent an individual in 2nd amendment cases.

      • Left Coast Chuck

        The founding fathers envisioned patriots being armed with the latest military firearm if you read the Militia act of 1792. The militia was required to be armed with a musket, bayonet, and other accoutrements. If the founding fathers had intended to protect hunting they would have specified rifles and not muskets and bayonet which were the assault weapon of the day and were the equal of what armies were equipped with. Muskets were specified because they could be loaded and fired more rapidly and more times between cleaning than rifles. Rifles were more accurate but when it came to facing off armies, it was better to be armed with an equal weapon.

    • Walter 77777

      About the 2nd amendment: The latest decisions on private gun ownership — McDonald v. Chicago and Dist. of Columbia et al v. Heller reversed a long-standing interpretation of the 2nd amendment as relating to the formation of militias as being National Guards.

      The ACLU sides with the older decisions.


      • ChristyK

        In the beginning of our nation, all able-bodied males, over 18, were considered the militia and were required by law to have the skills, guns, and ammo necessary to defend our nation. Then the national guard was created. They then had an organized and an unorganized militia. The unorganized militia was all able-bodied men not in the guard. It is a recent change to consider it unnecessary for the average citizen to own a gun. It is not what was intended. The original intent was to use guns for self- defense, defense of our nation, and most importantly to defend against a tyrannical government like the British government that they had just fought against for independence.

      • Guest

        Very well stated ChristyK…..

    • Bob

      It’s about time the ACLU stood up for something other than the rights of illegal immigrants. Police are out of control steroid gorillas that don’t have a clue what the constitution or civil liberties are. These cities and police departments should be sued into oblivion and then thrown in jail!

      • alpha-lemming

        As to the ACLU stance…. we’ll just file this under “even a broken clock is right 2 times a day”.

      • ibcamn

        The ACLU is low in members,it’s just doing this NOW to show someone that will listen,”hey were not so bad,come join us in one of our unions!”…that’s all this is!they never,again never, did a thing for my friends for decades!why start now??

    • Gordon

      Didn’t have the technology back then??????? What???????

      So “principles of action and conduct” don’t apply to anything that did not exist in 1789…?

      Wouldn’t that mean that since they did not have fully automatic assault rifles back then, that today they cannot infringe on our rights to own, shoot, and use them to kill anything or anybody in any manner that we personally choose?

      Are you awake?

    • Tim L.

      I’m quite sure that if the day comes that the government shows up at your door to take your guns away, the ACLU will be right there defending you.

      • Buster the Anatolian

        I hope your comment is intended as satire. As i noted above I contacted the ACLU about their stand on the 2nd amendment and they told me they do not represent the individual in cases concerning private ownership of firearms.

      • Paul

        I would not hold your breath Tim, my experience with the A.C.L.U. dictates other wise.

  • Rick

    Remember that he police have their dash cams to record you and me. If this is legal why is photographing them illegal?

    • jdn

      In court police have the distinction of being officers of the court and any and all testimony given by them is beyond reproach and absolutely factual and 100% truthful . If enough evidence is brought to bear in great enough quantity they may lose their standing in the courts as never being wrong , never lying and always upholding the law .

      • Rhonda Reichel

        Well that theory has been blown to bits already….some police are criminals convicted in a court of law.

      • Carolyn

        I was on a jury last year. The judge specifically told us that the testimony of a police officer should be treated in the same manner as any other witness. We were told not to give it any special weight or credibility.

    • 45caliber

      Primarily because they can edit those dash camera files before showing them in court. If you take the video, they can’t edit them to make themselves look better.

  • Walter D. Shutter, Jr.

    About time. There is a simple solution to this problem: The Courts should reaffirm that police arrests/detentions that are not based on probable cause or prima facie evidence of illegal activity, are common law torts for which an action for monetary damages can be brought. Legions of personal injury lawyers will then sweep the field clear of the offenders.

    • Rhonda Reichel

      I agree Walter….it’s gotten ridiculous. The police know the average citizens don’t really know the law and generally do what they are told but I think any officer trying to enforce something that isn’t legal should lose his job. Make a few examples and they will clean up their act. Jobs are hard to find.

      • Bob

        Scarey to get pulled over these days you might be tased, beat up, stripped seached along the highway or much worse. Police are not your friends.

      • 45caliber


        Jobs are hard to find … but not necessarily police jobs. All agencies in my area want and need more people. If a cop is fired in one district all he needs to do is call another down the road and he may not even lose a day’s pay.

        What they REALLY need is to be charged with breaking the law. For instance, if a cop enters your house without a search warrant, at the moment the judge simply dismisses all evidence found. Criminals have gotten off because a cop on their payroll would rush down when he heard of a raid being planned to “search” a house and get the evidence dismissed. Send him to jail for it and allow the evidence to be used since it is still evidence. He (and his friends) won’t do it again.

    • ibcamn

      Walt,most police don’t even know the laws,and they just jump and don’t think very far ahead of themselves,them police mob rule takes over and then they lie to cover it up!most times things get out of hand after the police arrive and they get involved!they themselves escalate the problem to a whipped up frenzy because they don’t know the laws there suppose to inforce!i’m a biker(lifetime)and the police have done sheet like this to people for decades!!

  • jdn

    The problem is in the details of police training . They for the most part believe that any and all words uttered by themselves constitutes a lawful order . In other words they not only enforce the law , they are the law .

    • jcfromdc

      Precisely the mentality and power enabling the horrors of th the KGB and the SS.

    • 45caliber


      One major problem with police training is that they are now teaching that as long as they do have a search warrant, it is perfectly okay to smash down the door and charge in with guns blazing without having to knock and let you know what is going on. According to a police friend of mine, only about 1 of 10 such cases get any news coverage. There is a LOT of that going on. Usually the only ones they publicize are when they get the wrong house.

  • Jamie

    I’ve learned to never trust a cop nor the justice systems.
    the scales are stacked against you.
    their idea or Justice is fleecing your pockets and savings.
    as well as Insulting You as a Person

    • jcfromdc

      It is a sad statement about those whose mission was once “to protect and serve”. It has now become, “to tax and collect… by any excuse or means necessary.”

    • Rhonda Reichel

      SELECTIVE ENFORCEMENT….if they write enough laws they can harass any citizen they want to but yet they don’t enforce the laws on people of privaledge. How many times do you see influential people get away with murder?
      Figuratively and sometimes literally….look at the Clintons. I read that Hillary had 16 sealed indictments… why are they not arresting her?

      • Deerinwater

        Rhonda says, “I read that Hillary had 16 sealed indictments… why are they not arresting her?”

        I say, Because an indictment is just that, ~ an indictment and not a validation of guilt or wrong doing ~ They can be a political driven indictment ~ and little more then domestic terrorism which is not uncommon to use against adversaries you have little control over ~ as it demand attention and offers distraction, wastes energy, time and money.

        That they are bogus has to be proven ~ while if these indictment were not bogus ,some DA’s office would proceed with suing the defendant.

        No one has the balls to indict, to be seen as wasting the courts time ~ and the bad press that will result from losing a case.

        It’s not a good career move by any attorney to annoy the courts. ~ Have you heard the name Kenneth Star mentioned lately? I think not.

      • ibcamn

        remember that police are(for the most time)being told what to do and not to do by unions or the gov’t,so your only going to get what service is allowed in what area!and then they pick n choose what they want,and most of the time the police are drunks or mentaly unfit to be on patrol but the unions say it is,so you have incompatence on both sides coming to your rescue!!kinda sucks don’t it??

    • boyscout

      Please do not refer to a “justice” system; we may have a “legal” system or a “judicial” system that deals with Law and not Justice.

  • ToughGuy1

    Their crooked police out there. They think their above the law. Or, fakes. So be careful!

    • Rhonda Reichel

      YES…never submit to a search unless they have a warrant. Cops have been known to plant drugs on people. Be polite if you are stopped but don’t volunteer any information you don’t have to.

      That incident where they did a body cavity search of those 2 women on the side of the road is so outrageous I can’t even believe that really happened if I hadn’t seen the video. The cop said he “smelled marijuana” but tore the car apart and couldn’t find anything. Worse yet his police cheif defended it !!!!

  • clark

    ACLU sues police, is like the pot calling the kettle black. They constantly go to court in favor of everything, but christian rights, while claiming to be a christian organization. Liars and subvertors of the constitution, would be appropriate adjectives for them. This court action by them is probably because they see a senario where they might be involved personally, whereas as make believe christians, the plight of real christians would not affect them.

    • Rhonda Reichel

      I agree completely that they target Christians which is reprehensible but we can’t throw out the baby with the bath water either. They also do some good.
      What they don’t seem to understand is that we have freedom OF religion….not freedom FROM religion.

    • Chester

      Clark, you are as guilty of seeing only what you want to see as any of the police you so thoroughly despise. The ACLU stands up for any rights they see being violated, and yes, that does include the rights of Christians to speak or pray as they see fit. It HAS happened in the past, and more than likely will happen in the future, but only if people like you don’t destroy what the ACLU actually is, READ the actual NAME, and not just the acronym, and you get a lot better view of what they are about. As for me, I am an unprotected minority, a member of one of several groups the ACLU refuses to represent.

  • got my licence

    In todays legal system it appears that you are innocent until your money runs out.

  • Lew

    Lets remember what the ACLU is!

    • ibcamn

      Remember,if the police are corrupt and they are run by the ACLU,it makes the ACLU corrupt,don’t forget that!(the aclu has to do a dog and pony show once in a while for the public,don’t fall for it!)

  • http://midcontent ridge runner

    Now i you are a dumborat, you can kill someone defraud taxpayers, steal what every you want, be a compulisive rapist, deal and use class 1 drugs, kill other citizens and use law enforce as your personal pimp patrol. Socialist democrats only raise sexual perverts or anything abhorant, brings the pervs to the top for and elected seat.

  • Norma

    If the police don’t abuse their power, they shouldn’t care about being taped.

    • ranger09

      Norma, Could not have been said any better. But you have to keep in mind the Police do not answer to the People, They only answer to the Powers to Be. AND THAT IS THE PROBLEM. We the people have lost control of all our politicians, Its called their way and not the Peoples way.

  • tim

    The ACLU will do everything they can to destroy our country. The only thing they care about is freeedom of speech and pornography. Lets not forget over-riding parents authority on abortion and birth control!!!!!Pornography is already causing enough problems with all the child molesters!!!! So the ACLU wants to protect all the perverts, same sex marriage and several wives.

    • Deerinwater

      So you are saying that you take exception with what the ACLU picks and chooses to defend? ~ But defending civil liberties is okay if they met your approval?

      The ACLU defends ~ what must be defended when no others will, where it a matter of unpopular or the support and funds is just not there.

      Gun owners have the NRA and wide popular support and there is much less concern that they will not be properly represented then say ~ a fairy attempting to access a hospital to see a dying friend.

      The ACLU is the last line of defense representing civil liberties. Why demand Pro-bono representation went you possess the loot to pay for the best representation that money can buy?

  • adrianvance

    If the cops were doing their jobs properly they would applaud civilian videotapers. This just proves their intentions are not honorable.

    Come see us at The Two Minute Conservative, and when you speak ladies will swoon and liberal gentlemen will weep.

  • ibcamn

    I can tell you stories till your ears bleed on the crap police have done to civilians for almost five decades,and that’s just things iv’e seen!the problem starts when a police officer gets up in the morning!it ends when he’s in bed,problem is,there’s another police officer in his place!police have a god complex,get that out of the equasion and it might start to stop all this police brutality they do to innocent people…might!…………(in my opinion,99.2% of all police are corrupt cheating lying basterds and beatches!)had to include female officers too!

  • Yankee

    How is it that people can get so stupid?

  • Newspooner

    Support your local police. Don’t let them be militarized. Educate them about the Constitution and individual rights. Videorecord them any time you see them in action. Be supportive, but insist that your rights are not violated. We need to take back the local police as our allies. Otherwise, Obama’s crew will eventually have full control over them.


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