Record Police During Arrest: Our Dangerous 1st Amendment Rights
Jul 27, 2015
In the wake of Sandra Bland’s tragic death, we can observe and continue to learn how our rights actually play out in real life. If you watch it all – (not just a shorter clip) it is about 40 minutes long, and revealing. You decide what you see/hear. Video tells truth of the behavior and actions. It is an eye opener. You also see/hear the Officer tell Bland to put down her cell phone. She was recording her arrest.
Sandy was driving from Chicago to Texas to take a new job, that journey ended in death. Why/what happened? It also shows when the arrest got brutal, the dashcam video could not pick up the “out of view” but the audio continued. Evidence. The video gives us a view from the Dashcam of the police car, as well as some shot from bystanders to document.As we have seen, the arrest video for a traffic stop blew up – “lit up” (as the officer pulls Sandy from the car for a traffic violation and states he will ‘light her up” (stun gun threat) Of nationwide concern, many issues here.
Video is witness. I have firsthand experience from the Chris Drew case in Chicago. In 2008, He was arrested for Peddling without a license, but a personal tape recorder found at booking, he was charged with a Class 1 Felony Eavesdropping charge! I videotaped the arrest on location, State Street and posted it on YouTube the next day. https://youtu.be/2ncu2AjO5ok
This also was illegal, – hardly anyone knew the “Illinois Eavesdropping Law” existed! but I had been doing street photography/video actively since 2003 and always expected it to be my 1st amendment right) My video became court evidence.
The connected Big Questions are on The First Amendment Rights which continue to explode like fireworks – sudden spectacular awareness, fading away, then again demanding our attention. Although, at this point most people and police understand that the rights to record police in public, has been upheld across our land by the courts. But on the streets, the “interpretation” and human actions, remain questionable. As Chris Drew, artist and activist would say, “You’re always at the beginning when fighting for your rights” true. history keeps repeating itself, despite the laws.
Nancy Bechtol. Associate Bureau Chief, Chicago