The Obama administration took time away from its busy schedule of resurrecting the economy, fighting the war on terror, and preparing for that 2012 reelection thing. For what, you ask? Addressing a citizens right to record the public conduct of government officials with a cell phone. Bam’s administration recently weighed in on a Baltimore, Maryland case that had a man’s cell phone compromised after he used the phone to record the officers’ arrest of his friend. After this gentlemen’s phone was taken, and given back several minutes later, the video of the arrest had been deleted along with at least 20 other personal videos.
Christopher Sharp, the alleged victim, filed a federal lawsuit in October, charging that the police had violated his First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Yes, you heard correct. He asked the court to declare that cell phone recordings are protected by the Constitution and to award him money damages. The Obama administration chimed in on the Tuesday court filing.
“While the city’s new training materials acknowledge that it’s legal to record the actions of the police, they do not explicitly acknowledge that private citizens’ right to record the police derives from the First Amendment, nor do they provide clear and effective guidance to officers about the important First Amendment principled involved.”
I’m no law expert but I’ve always had an inkling that video recordings were included under some amendment that protects citizen rights. I just knew it couldn’t have been legal for officers to just take your phone because you decided to record their actions. It’s good to see our government stick up for us for a change, enforcing constitutional law upon negligent government officials.