The First Amendment protects the public’s right to use electronic devices to record on-duty police officers, EFF argued in an amicus brief filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. The case, Frasier v. Evans, was brought by Levi Frasier against five Denver police officers for interfering with his First Amendment right to record them while arresting another man.
Additionally, the Colorado Legislature passed two statutes. The first created a statutory right for civilians to record police officers (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 16-3-311). The second created a civil cause of action against police officers who interfere with an individual’s lawful attempt to record an incident involving a police officer, or who destroy, damage, or seize a recording or recording device (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-21-128).
Six other federal appellate jurisdictions have upheld a First Amendment right to record on-duty police officers: the First, Third, Fifth, Seventh, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuits. EFF wrote amicus briefs in the Third Circuit case and in a similar case in the Northern District of Texas that focused on the First Amendment right to record emergency medical personnel and other first responders.
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