Although it has gotten many individuals wrongfully arrested and others physically assaulted, many individuals who come in contact with police officers feel they are required to film or photograph their encounter in an effort to protect themselves, their loved ones, and even their friends. While most police officers frown upon those who attempt to film or photograph them while they are carrying out their duties, the fact is, under most circumstances, citizens are permitted to record law enforcement officials, despite what an officer says.
Now, if you are someone who lives in Jackson, MS or another city within the state and are wondering what your rights are when it comes to photographing police officers, below we highlight a few for you so you better understand what you can and cannot do. They can also help you determine if you have a case against a Jackson, MS police officer who harmed you while you were in the process of photographing them.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Mississippi, you have the right to:
- If you are in a public place where you are legally permitted to be, “you have the right to photograph anything that is in plain view.” This means you can take pictures of federal buildings and police officers.
- Police officers must have a warrant to confiscate or view your photographs or video. According to the ACLU, police do not have the right to look through your cellular device unless they have obtained a search warrant or can prove exigent circumstances exist. For example, if the officer believes searching your photographs will help save a life or that it will prevent the destruction of evidence, then they may be able to search your device without a warrant. The ACLU also highlights that this applies to cell phones and not other electronic devices such as a standalone camera.
- Police are not permitted to delete your photographs or video. This could result in an officer being criminally charged with tampering with evidence, obstruction, or even theft.
- A police officer can ask you to stop photographing if they feel your actions are interfering with their ability to perform their duties.
- Although you may be in a public place and have the right to take photos of an officer and your surroundings, you are not permitted to break other laws. For example, at the time you are present a public place is closed, it might be considered trespassing for you to be on those premises. And although an officer cannot arrest you for taking photos, they can if you are violating another law.
What should I do if an officer harassed or assaulted me although I had the right to photograph him/her?
Now, because police officers will often find a way to violate a citizen’s rights and get away with it as most individuals are unaware of what their legal rights actually are, you are urged to consult with a Jackson ,MS police brutality lawyer if you were injured by an officer who didn’t want to be photographed or recorded. The legal experts at Williams Newman Williams, P.L.L.C. will be able to review the details of your incident and determine if the officer did, in fact, violate your rights. In the event it is determined that he/she did, a lawyer can help you build a solid case against the officer and even the department in which they work for.
If you would like to speak with a police misconduct attorney now who provides legal services to residents of Jackson, MS, contact this firm at 601-208-0343.
Williams Newman Williams, P.L.L.C. is located at:
129B South President Street
Jackson, MS 39201
Toll Free: 800-558-4208