On January 9th Joseph Demary of Lenox, MA, one of our followers on Facebook, was arrested for recording a police officer issuing him a traffic citation.
In his own words,
“I was arrested for “unlawful secret recording” for having my phones camera on as it sat on the passenger seat of my car as I received a speeding ticket. I informed the officer I was just protecting myself and my rights. I was quickly arrested and charged with a felony “unlawful secret recording”, my vehicle was towed, I was booked, fingerprinted and thrown in a jail cell for 3hrs for nothing more than exercising my constitutional rights.
The first Amendment includes the freedom to observe and document the conduct of governent officials, which is crucial to democracy and a free society.
Laws governing recording government officials vary depending on jurisdiction, but the first amendment applies across all of America. We should not have to fear our government and certainly should be able to take reasonable action to accurately record events when we interact with officials. If you think Mr. Demary's arrest seems unjust, Share this to spread the word and help raise awareness! Mr. Demary goes on to say:
Citizens should have the right to record police during arrests, either of their own arrest or someone else's, to ensure that they are PROTECTING and SERVING rather than acting as Tyrants. This is not the first time someone has been arrested for simply recording Police officers, and I feel that all people should have the right to film Police Officers, especially during their own arrest to make sure the Officers in question are being fair and not abusing their power.
This is a blatant violation of civil rights and a injustice. Currently this is just a state issue but I believe that this should be a federal Constitutional Right.
If you would like to support Mr. Demary, here is a link to a petition to help him out.