One of the best forms of evidence a person can present in court against a police officer is a video or audio recording. Audio and video recordings are so useful because they provide solid and often irrefutable data proving an officer made a certain statement or behaved in a specific manner.

The biggest question that most people have when they are being arrested, or even when they are witnessing someone else get arrested is whether or not they are allowed to record the situation at hand and what they should do if an officer tells them to stop recording.

The good news is that individuals have the complete right to record a video, or even take pictures when they are in any public area. So if a person is in a public setting when they are confronted by an officer they are generally allowed to record the situation and take pictures as well. However, there are exceptions to the rule.

Individuals are generally not allowed to record the officer if:

  • They are on private property
  • Their recording is interfering with the officer doing their job properly

What do I do if an officer orders me to stop recording?

Officers are generally not allowed to request that a person stops recording unless they have a very strong reason to do so. One such situation could be if a person is getting in the way and creating a dangerous situation for themselves and the officer by recording. In this case, an officer is entitled to request a person to stop their recording.

However, if an officer tells a person to delete their footage or if they threaten to arrest a person if they do not hand over their camera they are definitely crossing the line and a police brutality attorney in Annapolis, MD can assist a person in filing a legal complaint against their behavior.

If an officer is telling a person to stop recording, the person may have the right to keep on recording but it is always a good idea to be polite and comply before matters escalate out of hand. If an officer has gone as far as to threaten a person with arrest if they don’t stop recording it is always a better idea to listen to them until they can get in touch with their lawyer to help them with what steps they should take next in order to address the mistreatment they received from the officer.

In the case that an officer detains a person simply because they were making a video of the scene, it is very important that the person asks the officer clearly whether or not they are free to go. If the officer states they are not free to go then they are detaining the individual and the officer is not legally allowed to do this unless they have a very strong reason to be suspicious of the individual. If a person does not ask this out loud then their staying with the officer is considered voluntary and generally won’t be something they can use when they bring their case to court.

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