Sunday, May 18, 2014

GLIK V CUNNIFFE: Held private citizen has the right to record video/audio of officials in a public place.

Glik v. Cunniffe, 655 F.3d 78 (1st Cir. 2011) was a case at the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit that held that a private citizen has the right to record video and audio of public officials in a public place, and that the arrest of the citizen for a wiretapping violation violated the citizen's First and Fourth Amendment rights.

As he passed the Boston Commonon October 1, 2007, Simon Glik witnessed three police officers arresting an individual.  After hearing one bystander say to the officers, “You are hurting him, stop,” Glik began recording the arrest with his cell phone camera.  

When the officers handcuffed the suspect, one of the officers turned to Glik to say, “I think you have taken enough pictures.”  Glik responded: “I am recording this. I saw you punch him.”  
After Glik said his recording captured sound, the officers arrested Glik for unlawful audio recording in violation of Massachusetts’s wiretap statute.  While detained at the South Boston police station, officers confiscated Glik’s cell phone and a computer flash drive as evidence.
The District Attorney charged Glik with violating the wiretap statute, disturbing the peace, and aiding the escape of a prisoner.  The Commonwealth voluntarily dismissed the charge of aiding in the escape of a prisoner. 
The Boston Municipal Court, in February 2008, granted Glik’s motion to dismiss the final two charges: disturbing the peace, and violating the wiretap statute.  The judge found that Glik’s exercise of his First Amendment right to film police did not disturb the peace, noting the officers’ dislike of Glik’s recording did not make this constitutionally protected activity unlawful.  
The judge also dismissed the wiretap charge for lack of probable cause because the statute requires a secret recording and the officers admitted Glik had recorded openly and in plain view.
In Glik v. Cunniffe, the First Circuit answered the question of whether police officers could invoke qualified immunity after arresting a citizen for openly recording the officers’ arrest of an individual on Boston Common.

Simon Glik, a Boston attorney wrongly arrested and prosecuted for using his cell phone to record police officers forcefully arresting a man on the Boston Common, has reached a settlement with the City of Boston on his civil rights claims. The settlement requires the City to pay Glik $170,000 for his damages and legal fees.

No comments:

Post a Comment