Police claim man’s First Amendment suspended for legally filming
February 25, 2014
A young man in Maryland reportedly “lost” his First Amendment right Sunday while attempting to film a police encounter.
In cellphone footage uploaded to Vimeo, a large group of police thought to be from the Baltimore County Police Department can be seen arresting two people as a massive crowd watches from the sidewalk. As the video’s author quietly films, one officer spots the camera and immediately approaches.
“Get out of my face,” the officer bizarrely says after walking up to the camera.
Despite being surrounded by countless people, the cameraman is specifically singled out as more police approach and begin demanding he leave the area.
“Get the hell out of here!” a second officer says. “You diverted my attention!”
Attempting to assert his Constitutional right, the cameraman is suddenly assaulted as the second officer begins pushing him down the street.
As the cameraman walks away from the scene, a group of officers continue to follow, clearly upset that they are still being legally filmed.
Another officer corners the cameraman and begins to threaten him with jail time, refusing to point out any illegal activity or crime committed.
“We’re not f*cking around, do you understand?” the officer says. “Walk away and shut your f*cking mouth or you’re going to jail.”
Again attempting to find out what crime he has committed, the cameraman’s arm is suddenly twisted behind his back as the enraged officer continues his threats.
“I thought I had freedom of speech?” the cameraman asks.
“You don’t, you just lost it,” the officer states.
Although the Supreme Court has continued to uphold the right to film police, First Amendment violations seem to be on the increase as cameras become more commonplace.
Just last week, a Florida woman was assaulted by police for trying to record her own traffic stop. Despite an officer claiming her actions were illegal, her charges were quickly dropped after spending the night in jail.
The week prior, a New York man was harassed and assaulted by police for filming from 30 feet away. Although officers attempted to delete the man’s footage, their police report was soon found to be false after the encounter was retrieved from the phone.
As some police become increasingly hostile to the First Amendment, others set the example by defending it. In 2012, Sheriff Stan Lenic became an internet sensation after refusing to detain activists legally filming at New York’s Albany International Airport.