Can You Get Arrested For Filming Illinois Cops Making an Arrest?
I'm sure you've seen a video of a police officer arresting someone at some point in your life.
What I always wondered was whether or not it's OK for that person to film that stuff so I did a bit of searching.
Well, to answer that question, yes, kind of.
If you photograph or film on-duty police officers in Illinois, you would probably be within your rights. Your First-Amendment right to free speech includes taking audiovisual recordings, and the Illinois eavesdropping laws that require consent of both parties before recording would not apply to police who are performing their duties in a public space.
Sounds like you're in the clear, right? Scott Kent Law says you still need to be courteous:
Keep in mind that having the right to record the police as they conduct their duties does not grant you any other rights with respect to police officers, and many activities people might try to record involving police officers remain illegal and do not involve constitutional rights. For instance, recording off-duty officers having a quiet conversation is not legal under Illinois law, nor does the First Amendment protected that act. Even if the officers are on duty, if they are not performing official duties—for instance, if they are having lunch—recording them will not enjoy the same protections and could well violate the law.
If a cop is eating a sandwich do not film. If a cop is arresting someone and they don't say anything about you filming the arrest you're probably good to go.
According to Goldman & Associates "if you are in a situation where you are recording police in their official capacity, know that you cannot get in trouble for this. You have a constitutional right to freedom of speech, whether that comes from your person or your smartphone."
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