The First Amendment protects our right to photograph and record police activity in public spaces. This right covers all sorts of police interactions with the public and includes photography, audio recordings, and live-streaming.
Although the right itself is clearly established, without some basic rules of the road, encounters between police and individuals who film them have the potential to go awry.
To help ease uncertainty, and to encourage civil interactions rather than confrontations, the Policing Project has created a short Guide to Filming the Police. It consists of a series of DO’s and DON’Ts, for both police officers and those filming them.
This guide goes beyond outlining legal rights, and instead provides practical recommendations for members of the public on how to approach filming the police and for officers on how to respond to photographers.
This project was sparked by a suggestion from Brandon Del Pozo, Chief of Police in Burlington, VT. Believing in the public’s right to film officers in action, Chief Del Pozo felt there was a need to educate people on both sides of the camera lens.
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