CHANGING THE CULTURE OF UNCONSTITUTIONAL INTERFERENCE: A PROPOSAL FOR NATIONWIDE IMPLEMENTATION OF A MODEL POLICY AND TRAINING PROCEDURES PROTECTING T

njdiver

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CHANGING THE CULTURE OF UNCONSTITUTIONAL INTERFERENCE: A PROPOSAL FOR NATIONWIDE IMPLEMENTATION OF A MODEL POLICY AND TRAINING PROCEDURES PROTECTING THE RIGHT TO PHOTOGRAPH AND RECORD ON-DUTY POLICE

In a world filled with cell phones and digital recording devices, documenting the activities of on-duty police has become increasingly common. Videos and photographs of police interactions have great value. They increase officer and public safety, provide evidence in judicial proceedings, expose police misconduct, and often provide a solid and effective foundation for demands for change. Although courts overwhelmingly agree that recording on-duty police is protected by the First Amendment, and despite the fact that police themselves increasingly record their interactions with the public, there exists a deep resistance in police culture to photography and recording by the public and press. Law enforcement officers across the nation use a variety of tactics—from intimidation and physical injury to criminal prosecution—to prevent the public from documenting them.

Changing the culture of unconstitutional interference with the right to photograph and record the police will be a difficult task. Litigation alone is not enough. This Comment calls for nationwide implementation of model police department training procedures and policies protecting the right of the public and press to document on-duty police. After providing a general overview of the relevant issues and explaining why policies and training are needed, the author sets out the necessary components of a model policy and training procedures and suggests tactics for promoting and requiring their implementation nationwide.

 

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