ACLU, Department of Justice Urge Maryland Law Enforcement to Draft Clearer Policies on the Public’s Right to Record

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A Howard County man claims that in 2010 police deleted images off of his cellphone that depicted the officers “roughing up” a friend of his at Preakness. As the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland continues to advocate for this man, the group is urging law enforcement agencies across the state to draft clear-cut policies that define a bystander’s right to record officers’ activities.

The Baltimore Police Department issued general orders instructing officers to allow the recording of police activity last fall, but as recently as February Baltimore police officers were caught on tape harassing a man recording an arrest — he even reminded them of the standing order, to no avail. Even the Department of Justice has weighed in, deeming the policy insufficient.

While the BPD has not yet issued a formal response, it looks like they may not heed the ACLU’s (and the DoJ’s) advice. Police spokesman Anthony Gugliemi has said current policy is enough to protect the public’s rights. He even claims other cities look to Baltimore as an example upon which to base their own camera policies.

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