Legality of recording police activity

You cannot break any other laws or interfere with police activity if you're recording in a public place

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Just outside St. Louis, Missouri, tension continues to rise in Ferguson, where a police officer shot and killed a teenager last week.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon visited Ferguson Thursday and President Obama called for peace, but on Wednesday, two reporters were arrested, then released, while covering the protests. Police were also heard in people’s video, telling them to stop recording.

22News discovered that recording what’s unfolding in a public place, that’s plainly visible, is a constitutional right.

“They need to keep lines of communication open,” said Amina Steinfels of Northampton. “They can’t misinform the public. They can’t shut down protests. They can’t shut down complaints this way. It only makes it worse for themselves. It makes it worse for the relationship between the police and the community.”

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, police cannot order you to stop taking pictures if you’re in a public place and if you’re not violating any other laws.

It is important to note, you cannot break any other laws or interfere with police activity if you’re recording in a public place, and in Massachusetts, secret recording is not allowed.

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