For more than two years now, Baltimore police have had a standing order to allow the public to videotape them as they go about their business. But according to the American Civil Liberties Union, the order wasn’t good enough. And the proof is in the pudding! Just last month officers demanded a college student cease filming an arrest in Towson and “pushed away” a Baltimore Sun photographer at a crime scene.
Now, after coughing up $250,000 over a complaint from a man who claims Baltimore police erased his cell phone video of an arrest at Preakness in 2010, the department is definitively changing its policy.
As reported in the Baltimore Sun, the new rule states: “Members of the general public have a First Amendment right to video record, photograph, and/or audio record BPD members while BPD members are conducting official business … unless such recordings interfere with police activity.”
Not only that, but police officers are to treat all members of the public just like members of the press when it comes to photography and audio and video recording.
Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts claims that slowly but surely they are “changing the culture in the Police Department as a whole.”
Let’s hope so!
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