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Good Question: Can You Record The Police?

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(credit: CBS) John Lauritsen
John Lauritsen is a reporter from Montevideo, Minn. He joined WCCO-...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Video recorded by a truck driver in Illinois has gone viral.

Brian Miner honked and flagged down a state trooper because he thought the trooper was speeding and talking on his cell phone, which is illegal in Illinois.

Miner then recorded their conversation. The conversation changed when Miner told the trooper he was recording everything he said.

In the end, Miner didn’t get a ticket, and can be seen saying “and that’s what happens when they know you’re recording.”

So, can you record the police?

“Absolutely, in fact given an opportunity you should record the police,” said Minneapolis lawyer Joe Friedberg.

Friedberg said it’s your First Amendment right.

“Think of all the police misconduct cases around the country over the last 10 years that have been caught on video,” Friedberg said.
He points to the Rodney King case and others as examples.

As long as you aren’t getting in the way of an investigation, you can record and your video can’t be confiscated without a warrant.
But Friedberg said there are circumstances when the cameras and cell phones should be put away.

“If it’s a situation where you are putting someone’s life at risk, especially an undercover officer, there might be an exception then,” Friedberg said. “You can’t do that. That’s obstructing justice and that’s a crime.”

And this goes both ways, the Supreme Court ruled years ago that when police interview or interrogate someone they have to record it.
In a lot of circumstances, it helps strengthen a case before it goes to trial.

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