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Credit where credit is due

An excellent position by the Obama administration’s Department of Justice

DOJ urges judge to side with plaintiff in Baltimore police taping case

The U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division has urged a federal court to side with a Howard County man in a lawsuit over his cellphone being seized by Baltimore police at the Preakness Stakes after he filmed officers making an arrest.

The federal attorneys say the lawsuit “presents constitutional questions of great moment in this digital age.” They asked U.S. District Judge Benson Everett Legg to rule that citizens have a right to record police officers and that officers who seize and destroy recordings without a warrant or due process are violating the Fourth and 14th Amendments.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, which is representing the plaintiff, Christopher Sharp, said it believes this is the first time the Department of Justice has weighed in on the topic of recording police.

[H/T Radley Balko]

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15 comments to Credit where credit is due

  • Tony Aroma

    What’s this, the feds PROTECTING a citizen’s rights!!!! Did I just see a pig fly by my window???

  • t h u d

    heh heh…

  • claygooding

    I see this as a signal that it is not business as usual for the police,,never heard of the DOJ siding against anything the police did.

  • Lynn

    “Four Years After Busting a Guy for Recording an Arrest, Boston Police Admit They Should Not Have Done That”

    http://reason.com/blog/2012/01/11/four-years-after-busting-a-guy-for-recor

  • claygooding

    I have another idear,,,how about an egg frying in a skillet with a caption of “This is your brain,without marijuana?” We could ask a prohibitionist to let us check his brain,,since we are sure his brain will not have any marijuana saving it.

  • darkcycle

    This is good news, but the cynic in me is looking for ulterior motives. I’m just not quite ready to believe they have the interests of the people in mind here.
    Just speculating, but could be they are looking at the polls, and in this case, see somthing they can do to grab a few points from both the left and the libertarian right, without really costing them anything. It likely would be decided against them anyway and could have gone all the way to the supremes. In any case, regardless of this, all they have to do is say the magic word (terrorism) and whatever they do is legal. So the point is moot.

  • Paul

    Hell must have frozen over. It’s just a cold snap, though, so things ought to return to normal pretty soon.

  • Francis

    Geez, talk about lowering the bar. I’m all for giving credit where it’s due, but has the Obama administration’s record on civil liberties really been so terrible that a complete no-brainer like this is enough to earn it praise? Sadly, yes.

    • Duncan20903

      If you’re going to both ask and answer the question what do you need us for?

      • Francis

        Yeah, I suppose I could have probably left that question rhetorical, but I didn’t want it to sound like a criticism of Pete’s post when my target was Obama’s record on civil liberties.

  • ezrydn

    Of course, Baltimore SWAT will probably be getting a new tank and UAV, plus a bag of change, for their “loss.”