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  1. #1
    Insane SVT Poster LS2GTO's Avatar
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    Illegal to tape/record a police officer?

    I've always been wondering this, and it wasn't till I saw the news story of the biker that got pulled over by the plain cloths officer that I finally thought I'd ask. Is it illegal to video tape/voice record a police officer in a traffic stop? Is it illegal only if you don't ask for consent?

  2. #2
    Insane SVT Poster
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    All parties must agree on the recording. An ofc can record without consent if it is part of an investigation.
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  3. #3
    Crazy SVT Poster Lt. ZO6's Avatar
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    Depends on the state where you live. Some places require only one party consent, some require both.

  4. #4
    Douchy McDoucherson zerocool's Avatar
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    How do the guys that are taping the Arizona officers looking for profiling get away with it then? As far as I know, they do it randomly and don't have consent of either party involved in the stop.
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    That about just audio? I believe recording just audio is legal correct? Video I know has different stipulations though...

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    Crazy SVT Poster Lt. ZO6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zerocool View Post
    How do the guys that are taping the Arizona officers looking for profiling get away with it then? As far as I know, they do it randomly and don't have consent of either party involved in the stop.
    In the majority of jurisdictions, taping is okay if done in an area where one wouldn't have any expectation of privacy.

  7. #7
    Oh, the humanity of it all. FordSVTFan's Avatar
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    AS pointed out above it all comes down to an R.E.P. (reasonable expectation of privacy). If there are two parties and they have a reasonable expectation of privacy then you need to determine if you are in a two party consent state. Also, as point out above, some states require only the knowledge of one party, while other states require the knowledge of both parties.

    In the state of Florida it is a felony to record a private conversation without the permission of both parties where there is an R.E.P.
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  8. #8
    I pretend to be a cop Lawfficer's Avatar
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    If you are in public, you have no expectation of privacy as a citizen or as a police officer. it's perfectly fine to record/tape whatever, as long as you do in such a fashion that it does not interfer with the officers work.
    Last edited by Lawfficer; 05-24-2010 at 08:19 AM.
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  9. #9
    Oh, the humanity of it all. FordSVTFan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lawfficer View Post
    If you are in public, you have no expectation of privacy as a citizen or as a police officer.
    That is not accurate. Just because you are in a public area does not mean you dont have an R.E.P.

    For instance, if you and another person are in a public park and no one is around and the parties are talking in a normal conversant tone, there would be every reason to believe the conversation would not be overheard and therefore a R.E.P. exists.

  10. #10
    I pretend to be a cop Lawfficer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FordSVTFan View Post
    That is not accurate. Just because you are in a public area does not mean you dont have an R.E.P.

    For instance, if you and another person are in a public park and no one is around and the parties are talking in a normal conversant tone, there would be every reason to believe the conversation would not be overheard and therefore a R.E.P. exists.
    True, you could make an arguement to this point. But im not talking about using technology past what the general public has access to like a laser mic or N.S.A. satelites. Im more referring to a moron on the side of the road with a handi-cam or something along those lines and i believe that what the op was referring.

    I would point out though, if you are in a public park... you could argue it the other way too.
    Last edited by Lawfficer; 05-23-2010 at 07:35 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LS2GTO View Post
    I've always been wondering this, and it wasn't till I saw the news story of the biker that got pulled over by the plain cloths officer that I finally thought I'd ask. Is it illegal to video tape/voice record a police officer in a traffic stop? Is it illegal only if you don't ask for consent?
    So if I get pulled by a police officer, can I taped the conversation between me and police officer-he will have his/her camera on recording the stop and if necessary evidence for his case. So can I do the same thing or is it illegal?
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    SVT God RCMPSVT's Avatar
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    We get recorded by Hells Angels, what ever who cares let them tape stuff no skin off our backs. In fact if any LEO's have had encounters with especially Hells Angels it common practice for them to audio tape you almost always and sometimes video. They love the audio though because they can conceal it without u knowing your being taped.

    I pulled a full patch over a few weeks back and asked him if I was gonna make it on You Tube, he wasnt amused.

  13. #13
    Premium Member wvmystichrome's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krwy View Post
    All parties must agree on the recording.
    That is not true here in WV. Legal people have been asked this in our area. As long as one person knows there is a tape recorder recording the conversation it is legal. The reason behind this. How do you think undercover TAPED drug transactions stand up in the court of law. If the drug dealer knew of the tape they would not open their mouth. I know this is true for WV not for sure in your state.

    The reason we/I know this is a situation that occurred in our church. Someone secretly taped a conversation. But since the person that recorded the conversation knew about the recorder it was legal.

    If this is wrong I would like to know because the local LE has said it is perfectly legal.

    OBTW. Adam great answer and you to Lawfficer.

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    Last edited by wvmystichrome; 05-24-2010 at 07:39 AM.
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  14. #14
    I pretend to be a cop Lawfficer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kent1 View Post
    So if I get pulled by a police officer, can I taped the conversation between me and police officer-he will have his/her camera on recording the stop and if necessary evidence for his case. So can I do the same thing or is it illegal?
    Unless you were driving inside the Hoffman Building's, a nuclear missle silo, or The Whitehouse, you should be fine.

    Put it through the Girl Scout Test. If a girl scout wondering around selling cookies could see it, then it's in public and there is no REP. If there is no REP, you are fine.

    The problem comes into play when idiots are filming from public places, into private places. Like people crawling onto their roof in order to film the neighbor in the shower, etc... This is where most of the challenges to REP come from, situations like this. Again, girl scout test. Can a girl scout crawl on your roof and try to sell cookies?

  15. #15
    Oh, the humanity of it all. FordSVTFan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lawfficer View Post
    True, you could make an arguement to this point. But im not talking about using technology past what the general public has access to like a laser mic or N.S.A. satelites. Im more referring to a moron on the side of the road with a handi-cam or something along those lines and i believe that what the op was referring.

    I would point out though, if you are in a public park... you could argue it the other way too.
    You could try that but there is case law that goes against that argument.

    Another classic example is the restaurant booth versus and open table. There is case law that a private booth away from other customers in a public restaurant does afford the parties an R.E.P.

  16. #16
    Oh, the humanity of it all. FordSVTFan's Avatar
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    I found this and thought it was a good breakdown for everyone interested.

    While the U.S. federal law only requires one-party consent, many states have accepted different laws. A 1950's U.S. Supreme Court case held that Federal Law does not supersede State law in this arena.

    States Requiring One Party Notification

    Alabama
    Alaska
    Arizona
    Arkansas
    Colorado
    District Of Columbia
    Georgia
    Hawaii
    Idaho
    Illinois
    Indiana
    Iowa
    Kansas
    Kentucky
    Louisiana
    Maine
    Minnesota
    Mississippi
    Missouri
    Nebraska
    Nevada
    New Jersey
    New Mexico
    New York
    North Carolina
    North Dakota
    Oklahoma
    Oregon
    Ohio
    Rhode Island
    South Carolina
    South Dakota
    Tennessee
    Texas
    Utah
    Vermont
    Virginia
    West Virginia
    Wisconsin
    Wyoming



    States Requiring Two Party Notification

    California
    Connecticut
    Delaware
    Florida
    Massachusetts
    Maryland
    Michigan
    Montana

  17. #17
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    So if I get pulled over in CA and I want to record the stop, I must tell the officer right away that I am recording? That being said, what if the officer declines consent? I need to turn off the recording device?

  18. #18
    SVT God sfadchi's Avatar
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    Notification and consent are two different things!
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  19. #19
    I pretend to be a cop Lawfficer's Avatar
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    Speaking of the Devil..... WHAT A crock of $h!T!!!!

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    If I were this guy, I would challenge this until the end of time. This is the slipperly slope of making it ileagle to record the police(gov't) doing anything. Even if the state courts uphold the conviction, I would keep appealing it as i'm sure SCOTUS would be more than happy to issue an opinion on the matter in the other direction.

    If they seized the computers etc as evidence of a crime that is one thing. However, seizing it under the two-party consent law is complete non-sense as I'm sure this is not what the spirit of the law was when it was drafted/passed.
    Last edited by Lawfficer; 05-26-2010 at 08:11 AM.

  20. #20
    Insane SVT Poster LS2GTO's Avatar
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    ^^ That was the story that inspired me to make this thread. I guess since he's in Maryland he needs the 2 notification rule.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by LS2GTO View Post
    ^^ That was the story that inspired me to make this thread. I guess since he's in Maryland he needs the 2 notification rule.

    If thats the story I think it is, in that state you can't record the police. Its not a 2 party thing, its the law.

  22. #22
    Crazy SVT Poster COBRA_ESQ's Avatar
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    New York is a one party notification state, but the statute only applies to "wiretapping, mechanical overhearing of a conversation, or intercepting or accessing of an electronic communication".

    In New York photographing and video recording in a public place is permissible. New York does have an unlawful surveillance statute but it only applies to a place and time when a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy which is defined as "a place and time when a reasonable person would believe that he or she could fully disrobe in privacy."

    So, in answer to the OP, in New York you can record a traffic stop without the LEO's permission or knowledge.
    Last edited by COBRA_ESQ; 05-27-2010 at 08:28 AM.

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  23. #23
    Angel's Daddy Hlistr_07RR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lawfficer View Post
    If you are in public, you have no expectation of privacy as a citizen or as a police officer. it's perfectly fine to record/tape whatever, as long as you do in such a fashion that it does not interfer with the officers work.
    Not in MD.

    OP if you're talking about that guy on a bike on youtube recording msp, yes they can technically charge him with tape recording the stop, however its being asinine IMO. He wasn't setting out to record the stop, it just kinda happened. But whatever, yes its illegal in MD without getting both parties consent
    The above post does not in any way represent the view of my workplace. It is a personal view only.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lawfficer View Post
    Speaking of the Devil..... WHAT A crock of $h!T!!!!

    Video - Breaking News Videos from CNN.com


    If I were this guy, I would challenge this until the end of time. This is the slipperly slope of making it ileagle to record the police(gov't) doing anything. If if the state courts uphold it, keep appealing it as im sure SCOTUS would be more than happy to issue an opinion in the other direction.

    If they seized the computers etc as evidence of a crime that is one thing, however, seizing it under the two-party consent law is complete non-sense. I'm sure this is not what the spirit of the law was when it was drafted/passed.
    Wow! That is some scary stuff for just filming!!

  25. #25
    Crazy SVT Poster Lt. ZO6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kent1 View Post
    Wow! That is some scary stuff for just filming!!
    It wasn't the filming that got him in trouble. That occurred when he decided to be cute and post it to Youtube...

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