Standing Beside You – Fighting For Justice
Photo of Royce Russell

The right to record versus the right to enforce the law of the state

On Behalf of | Apr 21, 2022 | Police Misconduct

Violating the right to record for New Yorkers is crucial in asserting police misconduct. Recording law enforcement allows citizens to submit audio or video evidence to the court to support their claims of official misconduct. Members of law enforcement are under criticism for allegedly denying citizens the right to record contact with police officers.

The law against police misconduct has stipulations such as not interfering in a police matter or not being in police custody while attempting to record police officers. There must be some distance between the person recording and the police. Exactly how much space the statute requires is debatable. A reasonable amount of distance is acceptable, but it’s subject to interpretation by the police officer. Law enforcement officials’ rights are of great consideration to the courts.

If you’re ordered to stop recording law enforcement, is that police misconduct?

There are times when recording a law enforcement action may be dangerous. A police officer may rightly tell you to stop recording and order you to safety. In a riot or dangerous shooter situation, the recording might interfere with the police being able to pursue the offender and keep you safe at the same time. In this case, a court can rule that your rights to record were not violated; therefore, no police misconduct occurred.

Professional journalists and reporters must obey law enforcement commands as they are civilians. These trained professionals have constitutional and professional permission to record, and they may lay claims of police misconduct when denied access to newsworthy events.

The desire to protect citizens from police misconduct cannot interfere with the greater safety of society. If you’re obeying the law and following the statute for recording law enforcement, you should be allowed to record freely and constitutionally.