Can You Lawfully Film the Police?

The invention of smartphones and portable video recording devices have changed our lives. More than ever, information can now be easily shared online, either recorded on devices or streamed using devices. This has been proven helpful in recent cases where police acted overly harsh or when they were unexpectedly brutal. The question is, is it legal to film the police when they are making an arrest or performing their duty?

To Film or Not to Film

There have been cases when police threaten to seize the phones of people filming them such as in the case of the Toronto police who tasered a man near Ryerson University. In that case, a letter carrier was walking with his wife and saw the police arresting a man. He promptly started recording when he saw a police officer kicking the man while the man was being restrained. The police then told the letter carrier that they will seize his phone as evidence. Note that the police cannot lawfully do that as videotaping without interfering is not prohibited by any law. The person videotaping the incident did nothing wrong.

In fact, videotaping the police in the performance of their duty can be a huge help in documenting the circumstances of an arrest or a pursuit. Some police have started wearing body cameras for their own protection too so that suspects cannot claim events that did not transpire.

The Real Deal

To be clear, you may videotape a police interaction provided that you do not interfere with the police while they are performing their duty. It is best to keep a safe distance away and to comply with officers’ reasonable requests.

If you got in trouble for videotaping police officers, then be sure  contact a defence lawyer as soon as possible. Save any recordings and have a criminal defence lawyer like Calvin Barry look into your case to build your best defenceCalvin Barry Law can help, but you need to act fast and act smart too.

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