Five years ago today, I won my First Amendment First Circuit civil rights lawsuit against the Weare PD affirming YOUR RIGHT to RECORD POLICE in PUBLIC. Remember:
1. Record EVERY police encounter you see. This is a powerful way to keep everyone accountable and safe! If you are just passing by, see your role as being a “witness.” Don’t get involved or confrontational, simply record. If you use Facebook, using the “LIVE” feature can add protection in the event your footage “disappears” later.
2. Creating a local culture of filming police officers in NH is an excellent way to keep our police accountable to the people. We have now been waiting for YEARS for body cams, which, where introduced, strangely, only seem to record “parts” convenient to the official narrative, so ALWAYS BE FILMING FOR YOUR OWN PEACE OF MIND, YO! 🙂
2. Even if your phone is not working, pretend to film because as stated in #1, it helps keep everyone on better behavior when they think they’re being recorded.
3. The police have NO RIGHT to take your phone/recording device without following proper procedures, and if PD tells you they’re taking your recording, or that you are not allowed to film, you have a lucrative lawsuit waiting, so be sure to consult a lawyer immediately… because…
4. Police have NO CLAIM OF QUALIFIED IMMUNITY (their “get out of jail free” card) and WILL be held liable for violations of your right to record them.
In Rialto, CA, where they introduced body cams years ago, they found:
“But Rialto’s randomised controlled study has seized attention because it offers scientific – and encouraging – findings: after cameras were introduced in February 2012, public complaints against officers plunged 88% compared with the previous 12 months. Officers’ use of force fell by 60%.
‘When you know you’re being watched you behave a little better. That’s just human nature,’ said Farrar. ‘As an officer you act a bit more professional, follow the rules a bit better.'”
Don’t rely on them to provide the recordings… DIY!