Film the Police

Update 3-2018 - resource from

In all of the USA you have the right to film the police doing their job in public. It's been to the Supreme Court - filming the police is considered 1st amendment protected "speech" and it's a done deal. If you want to see the extent to which this is "real" read the Baltimore Police policy linked below. You might provide it to your city council and PD. Just so they have a clue. 

How to:

Install a streaming app on your smartphone (ustream / livestream / bambuser) - set up an account - stream something for a few seconds as practice

Be ready to stream if you encounter a police encounter

If you don't have data coverage when it's time to stream - just use the video function on your phone.  

There is often a question about whether a video has been altered - that's why streaming is preferable - your video will be on the App server rather than just on your phone.  If you have to video rather than stream, then upload your video to YouTube ASAP to limit those questions.

Be mindful of the people involved in the encounter - even though they are in public, in a public encounter with the police, consider that they may be victims of crime. I typically do a subtle wave at the person - often I get a "thumbs up" in response - suggesting to me that they appreciate that I am filming.  

From Photography is not a Crime - Ten Rules for Recording Cops  

Legal docs +:

2011 Right to videotape applies to citizens not just journalists (Glik)

2012 DOJ Letter re Sharp 

2012 Filming the police is not "eavesdropping" (Alvarez case)  (Supreme Court refused to hear appeal) / Final order 

July 2012 Washington DC Police General Order re the right to record the police 

(nothing new here - see this paragraph from this article - includes a decision from 1995 - "Federal appellate courts have upheld a First Amendment right to record police in cases including Glik v. Cunniffe in 2011, Smith v. Cummings in 2000 and Fordyce v. City of Seattle in 1995, all of which Justice cites in its statement in the Garcia case")


Austin Police Officer Tries To Paint Police Accountability Groups As 'Domestic Extremists' In FOIA'ed Emails (see section on filming in Austin)

Testing a broken ustream video to see if i can embed it...