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Thread: Video / Audio recording police in WA state.

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    Video / Audio recording police in WA state.

    I couldn't figure out how to directly search the WA section of this forum, so I apologize if this has been asked.

    Am I legally allowed to record police on video/audio? Will I be charged with obstruction / something else? My goal is to legally protect myself in LEO encounters. I open carry everyday, everywhere, and I would not be surprised if eventually, I have a negative LEO encounter. Any information pertaining to the legally of A/V recording an officer would be appreciated.

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    Regular Member OrangeIsTrouble's Avatar
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    Read state vs flora and johnson vs sequim.

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    I read them, and am still a bit confused, especially on understanding RCW 9.73.030. Can anyone simplify a bit for me? Legal-speak and I don't always get along...

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    Regular Member Freedom1Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by theaero View Post
    I couldn't figure out how to directly search the WA section of this forum, so I apologize if this has been asked.

    Am I legally allowed to record police on video/audio? Will I be charged with obstruction / something else? My goal is to legally protect myself in LEO encounters. I open carry everyday, everywhere, and I would not be surprised if eventually, I have a negative LEO encounter. Any information pertaining to the legally of A/V recording an officer would be appreciated.
    It's legal to record them, yes.

    They can, and sometimes will, charge/accuse you of ANYTHING though right, wrong, or stupid. Just because it's legal to do does not mean you won't be cuffed, stuffed, charged, and/or harassed.
    Provision for free medical attendance and nursing, for clothing, for food, for housing, for the education of children, and a hundred other matters, might with equal propriety be proposed as tending to relieve the employee of mental strain and worry. --- These matters obviously lie outside the orbit of congressional power. (Railroad Retirement Board v Alton Railroad)

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    Regular Member fire suppressor's Avatar
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    I thought Washington is a 2 person consent state meaning legally the officer would have to give you permission to record him. I also think this applies to us as well when being recored by the police. When a officer pulls us over and is wearing one of those cameras on their uniforms I think by law they have to have our permission to use it and have to turn them off if asked

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    Regular Member Wolfebane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fire suppressor View Post
    I thought Washington is a 2 person consent state meaning legally the officer would have to give you permission to record him. I also think this applies to us as well when being recored by the police. When a officer pulls us over and is wearing one of those cameras on their uniforms I think by law they have to have our permission to use it and have to turn them off if asked
    Since the police are in the employ of the state/are an agent of the state they are excluded from the 2 party consent rule, which is for civilian vs. civilian encounters. I think this ruling had a lot to do with the fact that the police didn't have to ask permission to record you with their dashcams. IANAL.

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    Regular Member Freedom1Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fire suppressor View Post
    I thought Washington is a 2 person consent state meaning legally the officer would have to give you permission to record him. I also think this applies to us as well when being recored by the police. When a officer pulls us over and is wearing one of those cameras on their uniforms I think by law they have to have our permission to use it and have to turn them off if asked
    Orange is trouble posted 2 deciding cases on that topic.

    Then you should read the law. It only applies when there is a reasonable expectation of privacy. Cops on duty have no reasonable expectation of privacy when they are talking to you. Now if you were in your bedroom with like your friend(s)/loved one(s) (except on on duty cop) then you would need consent from all parties, or on the phone, etc. I am not going to list every exception just trying to give you an idea.

    I even had to educate a lawyer about this. I don't think I will ever hire him again though.

    OrangeIsTrouble

    Read state vs flora and johnson vs sequim.
    Oh and this topic has been covered in depth on this forum more than once.
    Provision for free medical attendance and nursing, for clothing, for food, for housing, for the education of children, and a hundred other matters, might with equal propriety be proposed as tending to relieve the employee of mental strain and worry. --- These matters obviously lie outside the orbit of congressional power. (Railroad Retirement Board v Alton Railroad)

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    Regular Member amlevin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Freedom1Man View Post
    I even had to educate a lawyer about this. I don't think I will ever hire him again though.



    If you do, just be sure to deduct "Training Fee's" from his bill before you pay it
    "If I shoot all the ammo I am carrying I either won't need anymore or more won't help"

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    Regular Member Freedom1Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amlevin View Post
    If you do, just be sure to deduct "Training Fee's" from his bill before you pay it
    I wish I had thought of that.


    Thanks, will keep that in mind for next time.
    Provision for free medical attendance and nursing, for clothing, for food, for housing, for the education of children, and a hundred other matters, might with equal propriety be proposed as tending to relieve the employee of mental strain and worry. --- These matters obviously lie outside the orbit of congressional power. (Railroad Retirement Board v Alton Railroad)

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    Opt-Out Members BigDave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fire suppressor View Post
    I thought Washington is a 2 person consent state meaning legally the officer would have to give you permission to record him. I also think this applies to us as well when being recored by the police. When a officer pulls us over and is wearing one of those cameras on their uniforms I think by law they have to have our permission to use it and have to turn them off if asked
    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfebane View Post
    Since the police are in the employ of the state/are an agent of the state they are excluded from the 2 party consent rule, which is for civilian vs. civilian encounters. I think this ruling had a lot to do with the fact that the police didn't have to ask permission to record you with their dashcams. IANAL.


    RCW 9.73.090
    Certain emergency response personnel exempted from RCW 9.73.030 through 9.73.080 — Standards — Court authorizations — Admissibility.



    (1) The provisions of RCW 9.73.030 through 9.73.080 shall not apply to police, fire, emergency medical service, emergency communication center, and poison center personnel in the following instances:

    (a) Recording incoming telephone calls to police and fire stations, licensed emergency medical service providers, emergency communication centers, and poison centers;

    (b) Video and/or sound recordings may be made of arrested persons by police officers responsible for making arrests or holding persons in custody before their first appearance in court. Such video and/or sound recordings shall conform strictly to the following:
    (i) The arrested person shall be informed that such recording is being made and the statement so informing him or her shall be included in the recording;
    (ii) The recording shall commence with an indication of the time of the beginning thereof and terminate with an indication of the time thereof;
    (iii) At the commencement of the recording the arrested person shall be fully informed of his or her constitutional rights, and such statements informing him or her shall be included in the recording;
    (iv) The recordings shall only be used for valid police or court activities;

    (c) Sound recordings that correspond to video images recorded by video cameras mounted in law enforcement vehicles. All law enforcement officers wearing a sound recording device that makes recordings corresponding to videos recorded by video cameras mounted in law enforcement vehicles must be in uniform. A sound recording device that makes a recording pursuant to this subsection (1)(c) must be operated simultaneously with the video camera when the operating system has been activated for an event. No sound recording device may be intentionally turned off by the law enforcement officer during the recording of an event. Once the event has been captured, the officer may turn off the audio recording and place the system back into "pre-event" mode.

    No sound or video recording made under this subsection (1)(c) may be duplicated and made available to the public by a law enforcement agency subject to this section until final disposition of any criminal or civil litigation which arises from the event or events which were recorded. Such sound recordings shall not be divulged or used by any law enforcement agency for any commercial purpose.

    A law enforcement officer shall inform any person being recorded by sound under this subsection (1)(c) that a sound recording is being made and the statement so informing the person shall be included in the sound recording, except that the law enforcement officer is not required to inform the person being recorded if the person is being recorded under exigent circumstances. A law enforcement officer is not required to inform a person being recorded by video under this subsection (1)(c) that the person is being recorded by video.

    (2) It shall not be unlawful for a law enforcement officer acting in the performance of the officer's official duties to intercept, record, or disclose an oral communication or conversation where the officer is a party to the communication or conversation or one of the parties to the communication or conversation has given prior consent to the interception, recording, or disclosure: PROVIDED, That prior to the interception, transmission, or recording the officer shall obtain written or telephonic authorization from a judge or magistrate, who shall approve the interception, recording, or disclosure of communications or conversations with a nonconsenting party for a reasonable and specified period of time, if there is probable cause to believe that the nonconsenting party has committed, is engaged in, or is about to commit a felony: PROVIDED HOWEVER, That if such authorization is given by telephone the authorization and officer's statement justifying such authorization must be electronically recorded by the judge or magistrate on a recording device in the custody of the judge or magistrate at the time transmitted and the recording shall be retained in the court records and reduced to writing as soon as possible thereafter.

    Any recording or interception of a communication or conversation incident to a lawfully recorded or intercepted communication or conversation pursuant to this subsection shall be lawful and may be divulged.

    All recordings of communications or conversations made pursuant to this subsection shall be retained for as long as any crime may be charged based on the events or communications or conversations recorded.

    (3) Communications or conversations authorized to be intercepted, recorded, or disclosed by this section shall not be inadmissible under RCW 9.73.050.

    (4) Authorizations issued under subsection (2) of this section shall be effective for not more than seven days, after which period the issuing authority may renew or continue the authorization for additional periods not to exceed seven days.

    (5) If the judge or magistrate determines that there is probable cause to believe that the communication or conversation concerns the unlawful manufacture, delivery, sale, or possession with intent to manufacture, deliver, or sell, controlled substances as defined in chapter 69.50 RCW, or legend drugs as defined in chapter 69.41 RCW, or imitation controlled substances as defined in chapter 69.52 RCW, the judge or magistrate may authorize the interception, transmission, recording, or disclosure of communications or conversations under subsection (2) of this section even though the true name of the nonconsenting party, or the particular time and place for the interception, transmission, recording, or disclosure, is not known at the time of the request, if the authorization describes the nonconsenting party and subject matter of the communication or conversation with reasonable certainty under the circumstances. Any such communication or conversation may be intercepted, transmitted, recorded, or disclosed as authorized notwithstanding a change in the time or location of the communication or conversation after the authorization has been obtained or the presence of or participation in the communication or conversation by any additional party not named in the authorization.

    Authorizations issued under this subsection shall be effective for not more than fourteen days, after which period the issuing authority may renew or continue the authorization for an additional period not to exceed fourteen days.
    • Being prepared is to prepare, this is our responsibility.
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  11. #11
    Regular Member John Hardin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fire suppressor View Post
    I thought Washington is a 2 person consent state
    That only applies to private communications. Interacting with a police officer acting in public in his official duties is not considered a private communication, which is what those rulings boil down to.

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    Regular Member Schlepnier's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Some of the info here is great however i think we all need to get up to speed on the federal law that has trumps state law.
    the SCOTUS has already ruled you have no right to privacy in public so long as it is not made with a “reasonable expectation of privacy”

    KATZ VS US- “(a) that an enclosed telephone booth is an area where, like a home, and unlike a field, a person has a constitutionally protected reasonable expectation of privacy; (b) that electronic as well as physical intrusion into a place that is in this sense private may constitute a violation of the Fourth Amendment;"

    The two-part test for this protection is introduced by J. Harlan. First, the person must have exhibited an actual expectation of privacy and, second, that expectation must be reasonable.

    you may be video and audio recorded without concent so long as there is no expectation of privacy. futher in relation to law enforcement officers- glick VS commonwealth US 1st circuit court (boston) ruled (AUG 26 2011)
    that-

    "The First Amendment issue here is, as the parties frame
    it, fairly narrow: is there a constitutionally protected right to
    videotape police carrying out their duties in public? Basic First
    Amendment principles, along with case law from this and other
    circuits, answer that question unambiguously in the affirmative.
    It is firmly established that the First Amendment's
    aegis extends further than the text's proscription on laws
    "abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press," and encompasses
    a range of conduct related to the gathering and dissemination of
    information. As the Supreme Court has observed, "the First
    Amendment goes beyond protection of the press and the
    self-expression of individuals to prohibit government from limiting
    (1st Cir. 1986))).
    -8-
    the stock of information from which members of the public may
    draw." First Nat'l Bank v. Bellotti, 435 U.S. 765, 783 (1978); see
    also Stanley v. Georgia, 394 U.S. 557, 564 (1969) ("It is . . .
    well established that the Constitution protects the right to
    receive information and ideas."). An important corollary to this
    interest in protecting the stock of public information is that
    "[t]here is an undoubted right to gather news 'from any source by
    means within the law.'" Houchins v. KQED, Inc., 438 U.S. 1, 11
    (1978) (quoting Branzburg v. Hayes, 408 U.S. 665, 681-82 (1972)).
    The filming of government officials engaged in their
    duties in a public place, including police officers performing
    their responsibilities, fits comfortably within these principles.
    Gathering information about government officials in a form that can
    readily be disseminated to others serves a cardinal First Amendment
    interest in protecting and promoting "the free discussion of
    governmental affairs." Mills v. Alabama, 384 U.S. 214, 218 (1966).
    Moreover, as the Court has noted, "[f]reedom of expression has
    particular significance with respect to government because '[i]t is
    here that the state has a special incentive to repress opposition
    and often wields a more effective power of suppression.'" First
    Nat'l Bank, 435 U.S. at 777 n.11 (alteration in original) (quoting
    Thomas Emerson, Toward a General Theory of the First Amendment 9
    (1966)). This is particularly true of law enforcement officials,
    who are granted substantial discretion that may be misused to
    -9-
    deprive individuals of their liberties."

    There is more but i think you get the point.
    +thought for the day+
    ++victory needs no explanation, defeat allows none++

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    Regular Member rapgood's Avatar
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    Rev. Robert Apgood, Esq.

    A right cannot be lost by exercising it. McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U.S. 3025, 130 S. Ct. 3020, 3021, 177 L. Ed. 2d 894 (2010) (citing Near v. Minn., 283 U.S. 697 (1931)).

    Although IAAL, anything I say here is not legal advice. No conversations we may have privately or otherwise in this forum constitute the formation of an attorney-client relationship, and are not intended to do so.

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