When a police officer is in public conducting their public duties then there is, in fact, no law which states that they cannot be recorded. The chairman of D.C’s Metropolitan Police, Delroy Buton, states that there is nothing legally a police officer can do to stop you from recording if he is in a public place and you are not interfering with his work. However, if a photographer is getting in the way and preventing an officer from getting their job done then they can indeed tell the individual to stop recording. Also, if an officer is on private property then the owner of that property may request that no footage be taken.

Can a police officer delete my footage?

Thankfully, the law protects individuals in society from many things, and one of those is the right to keep their personal property. If a police officer confiscates one’s camera or phone and deletes footage off of it, then they can indeed be held liable for their actions and they may have to face penalties as well depending on the severity of the event which took place.

If a police officer does tell a person to stop recording then a person needs to first see if they are getting in the way. If they actually are being a source of obstruction and they are getting in the way in a sense that the officer can’t complete their work easily then a person should definitely listen to the officer. However, if a person is standing a safe distance away then legally they have not done anything wrong, However, a person can get themselves into a lot of hot water and possibly face threats and harassment if they do get caught recording. The act of an officer threatening a civilian for recording them is not at all permissible by the law, but it does happen more often than it should.

Freelance photographer gets arrested for taking photos of an officer

On November 27, 2012, a freelance photographer by the name Angel Zayas was arrested by a police officer because he refused to stop taking photos of the police officer who was performing a stop-and-frisk. He was in the New York City Subway-which is obviously a public domain- when he took the photos. Nevertheless, he was still forcibly ejected, verbally abused, and arrested for his actions.

Anyone who was arrested, harassed, or threatened by a police officer because they were making videos, taking photos, or recording the officer, should reach out to a police brutality attorney in Santa Rosa, CA. It can be a little nerve-wracking to take action against an individual who holds so much authority but individuals should understand that government bodies in law- which are the ultimate body of power in Santa Rosa, CA- have mandated a lot of rules to protect individuals from these exact situations. A police brutality lawyer can educate a person on the laws which were created to protect them and help them take legal action.