First Amendment Protects Right to Record Police Activity, Third Circuit Holds

July 25, 2017

New Jersey Legal Pulse

The Third Circuit recently joined the growing consensus of courts recognizing that the First Amendment protects the act of recording police officers conducting their official duties in public. In Fields v. City of Philadelphia, — F.3d —, 2017 WL 2884391 (3d Cir. July 7, 2017), two individuals brought claims against the City of Philadelphia and certain police officers for violating their First Amendment rights to record public police activity.

Amanda Geraci, a member of a police watchdog group, attended an anti-fracking protest at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in September 2012. When Geraci attempted to record the police arresting a protestor, an officer pushed her and pinned her to a pillar for over a minute, thus preventing her from observing or recording the arrest. Geraci did not interfere with any police activity. She was not arrested or cited.

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