On Monday, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver confirmed that it is your constitutional right to film a law enforcement officer during an encounter.
The case that initiated this originated in May of 2019 when Lakewood police officer Ahmed Yehia pulled over a blogger and YouTube journalist named Abade Irizarry for suspected DUI. Abade attempted to record the traffic stop, but Ahmed stood in front of his camera, and shined his flashlight into the lens to blind the camera. Irizarry sued Yehia, saying his rights were violated by the interference. The case went to the 10 the Circuit Court, where a Magistrate dismissed it, saying that because the law wasn’t clearly defined, Yehia had qualified immunity.
The Appeals Court took a look at the case, and turned it over, saying that recording the police is considered the creation of speech, and is protected under the 1st Amendment. The Court added “If the creation of speech did not warrant protection under the First Amendment, the government could bypass the Constitution by simply proceeding upstream and damming the source of speech”
The initial case by Irizarry will be heading back to court to get a decision based on the new First Amendment protections. But for you: Feel free to record any police encounter you find yourself in. It’s your Right.