Victory for free speech, jury affirms right to film police
Victory for freedom of speech and the press. A federal jury awarded damages to an Oregon man who was illegally arrested for filming a cop who he believed, was infringing on his First Amendment right to protest outside of a bank. Now, it seems that this guy had set up a table outside of the bank, and there has been no clear court decision that a person has a right to do such an act without a permit. But the cop hadn't just told him to to close down the table because he lacked a permit, which might have been justifable, but told him to move along. That though is a clear violation of the First Amendment. A person has the right to protest, along as they aren't blocking traffic. Unfortunately, I have seen videos of cops numerous times, telling protestors (even if just one person) that they do not have the right to protest, and that they must leave. Almost never in these videos do these cops arrest individuals who dissent, because the cops know they are clearly in the wrong. So the Oregon man, Josh Schlossberg, was arrested for filming this encounter, even after telling the cop that he was going to do so. The arrest was under a wiretapping law, laws that are very quite often abused by police who either don't know the law and its' intent, or who just use it to persecute a citizen who is annoying them. The cops often figure they will probably face no kind of punishment for their act. Unfortunately, usually, they are right. But, thankfully, not in this case.