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Justice Department supports right to photograph and audio-record public police activities

Jan 19, 2012 Justice Department supports right to photograph and audio-record public police activities

Thanks to the United States Justice Department — which I am infinitely more often fond of verbally flogging than praising — for filing in the Maryland federal trial court a position supporting the right of individuals to photograph and audiotape police activities occurring in public.

The Justice Department filed its Statement of Interest against the summary judgment motion filed by the Baltimore City police against a lawsuit arising from police detention on the street, and mistreatment of a man who recorded police carrying out their activities in public, going as far as to erase the recording that he had made. Sharp v. Baltimore City Police Dept., et al., Civ. No. 1:11-cv-02888-BEL (D.Md.).

Here are additional relevant filings in Sharp: the Complaint (which was removed from Baltimore City Circuit Court to the federal court on the defendants’ motion); the defendants’ dismissal motion; the plaintiff’s opposition to dismissal; and the defendants’ reply thereto.

Thanks to the listserv member who alerted me to the Sharp case, which addresses a critical issue in this day of repeated arrests, police harassment, and prosecution for public audiotaping of police.

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