ACLU Files Suit to Defend Right to Record Police
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ST. LOUIS – Last August, Kyle Hamilton used his mobile phone to document an interaction between police officers and a distraught woman on Main Street in St. Charles. A mounted police officer grabbed Hamilton by his shirt collar as he was recording. Another officer threatened to arrest Hamilton, took his phone, viewed and deleted the recordings, and then ordered him to leave.
Representing Hamilton, the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri (ACLU of Missouri) filed a lawsuit today against the City of St. Charles and the police officers.
“The First Amendment means less if police can grab and destroy a recording of them performing their duties in public,” explains Tony Rothert, legal director of the ACLU of Missouri.
“The government works for us, so we have the right to record public officials to insure they are doing their job properly,” says Jeffrey A. Mittman, executive director of the ACLU of Missouri. “The ACLU has a long history of defending this kind of check to prevent abuse of government power.”
The ACLU of Missouri is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization dedicated to defending and expanding the constitutional rights and civil liberties of all Missourians guaranteed by the U.S. and Missouri Constitutions, and is an affiliate of the national ACLU.
The complaint can be found on the ACLU of Missouri’s website at www.aclu-mo.org.
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