WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Video Recording Police in Public

Jul 18, 2017

The Poynter Institute reported on an appeals court ruling that found it is lawful for journalists and members of the public to video record police in public places. Journalism groups considered it a First Amendment issue.

The Shop Talk crew hopes the ruling stands. Such recordings can help hold both sides accountable during interactions between police and the public.

Panelist Rich Egger said many people now carry around video cameras because they’re included on smartphones.  He believes few folks are aware of past or present laws that would prohibit them from recording police in public areas.

Will Buss said he teaches his photojournalism students to make sure they are on public property when shooting, that what they are recording can be seen by everyone else in public, and the information they’re gathering is of public interest.

Jasmine Crighton said Illinois only recently changed its law, which prohibited recordings in public unless you had permission from everyone in the video.  She said it’s not realistic to expect a journalist to cover a public event while simultaneously obtaining permission from everyone there.

Buss said television newscasts are increasingly using videos provided by viewers.  He said it’s not possible to gather permission slips from everyone included in submitted content.

Jasmine Crighton is News Director of NEWS3 at Western Illinois University and Will Buss is the Director of Student Publications at WIU.