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Thread: Fairfax PD clarifies a citizen's right to film police activity

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    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Fairfax PD clarifies a citizen's right to film police activity

    The headline on this article is fairly misleading. The headline"policy" is for the FPD officers, instructing them that generally citizens have the right to film or record. I guess headline shockers generate ad-click revenue.

    At first glance, seems like a good policy.

    TFred

    New guidelines for filming police activity in Fairfax County

    The Fairfax County Police Department is clarifying what someone can and cannot do with a camera at or near a crime scene with a new policy.

    In a policy titled FCPD General Order 603.1 the department said it issued June 1, anyone has the right to record police activity, whether that’s a passerby or someone directly interacting with police.

    Officers will not be allowed to tell that observer that they can’t film a crime scene nor otherwise obstruct that filming.

    However, according to the Fairfax County Police Department news website, filming cannot interfere with officers doing their job, jeopardize anyone’s safety, violate the law or “incite others to violate the law.”

    ...

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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TFred View Post
    The headline on this article is fairly misleading. The headline"policy" is for the FPD officers, instructing them that generally citizens have the right to film or record. I guess headline shockers generate ad-click revenue.

    At first glance, seems like a good policy.

    TFred

    New guidelines for filming police activity in Fairfax County
    The are a pile of treble hooks hiding there.
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    Regular Member solus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TFred View Post
    The headline on this article is fairly misleading. The headline"policy" is for the FPD officers, instructing them that generally citizens have the right to film or record. I guess headline shockers generate ad-click revenue.
    At first glance, seems like a good policy.
    TFred

    New guidelines for filming police activity in Fairfax County
    tfred, the guidelines look good on the surface with the minor problem that the on scene officer may, if they determine the recorder is

    quote: Although the mere fact that an individual is recording police activity does not constitute a crime, individuals do not have the right to interfere with police activity, jeopardize safety, violate the law, or incite others to violate the law. Interference consists of actions that obstruct officers from the performance of their duties or pose a safety hazard which the officer must account for. (added by me...there is a list in the guidelines)

    When an officer makes an arrest of an individual who is recording police activity, the officer may, at their discretion, turn off the recording device and secure it incident to arrest. unquote

    if the nice officer is cantankerous and believe the recorder is interfering may arrest said individual and then turn off the recording.

    further, quote: The seizure of a recording device or recording medium is a temporary restraint intended only to preserve evidence (recording)
    until a search warrant can be obtained. unquote.

    and nothing in the guidelines provides any oversight if the nice officers violate said guidelines or how citizens are to provide complaints if they believe the officers violated the guidelines or get their recordings returned in case recordings are seized w/o a warrant.

    soooo...eyewash or viable...my gut says...eyewash since there is no punishment if the officers violate the guidelines.

    ipse
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    we may be forced to carry a back up recorder...

    LEOS are more in fear of video recorders then guns..

    My .02

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    CCJ
    " I detest hypocrites and their Hypocrisy" I support Liberty for each, for all, and forever".
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    Quote Originally Posted by solus View Post
    tfred, the guidelines look good on the surface with the minor problem that the on scene officer may, if they determine the recorder is

    quote: Although the mere fact that an individual is recording police activity does not constitute a crime, individuals do not have the right to interfere with police activity, jeopardize safety, violate the law, or incite others to violate the law. Interference consists of actions that obstruct officers from the performance of their duties or pose a safety hazard which the officer must account for. (added by me...there is a list in the guidelines)

    When an officer makes an arrest of an individual who is recording police activity, the officer may, at their discretion, turn off the recording device and secure it incident to arrest. unquote

    if the nice officer is cantankerous and believe the recorder is interfering may arrest said individual and then turn off the recording.

    further, quote: The seizure of a recording device or recording medium is a temporary restraint intended only to preserve evidence (recording)
    until a search warrant can be obtained. unquote.

    and nothing in the guidelines provides any oversight if the nice officers violate said guidelines or how citizens are to provide complaints if they believe the officers violated the guidelines or get their recordings returned in case recordings are seized w/o a warrant.

    soooo...eyewash or viable...my gut says...eyewash since there is no punishment if the officers violate the guidelines.

    ipse
    I've had these issues (not just with cops but many different .govs). I always come out on top. Because its an issue I'm willing to argue over whereas .govs...not so much. make it known that you do not consent to any encounter
    Last edited by davidmcbeth; 07-31-2016 at 12:28 AM.

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    Regular Member USNA69's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by countryclubjoe View Post
    we may be forced to carry a back up recorder...

    LEOS are more in fear of video recorders then guns..

    My .02

    Regards
    CCJ
    Rather than a back-up recorder (which could also be confiscated by LEOs), consider an Android app to upload your video in real time over 3G networks to a cloud server.
    See the explanation here: http://androidcloudcam.net/

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    Quote Originally Posted by USNA69 View Post
    Rather than a back-up recorder (which could also be confiscated by LEOs), consider an Android app to upload your video in real time over 3G networks to a cloud server.
    See the explanation here: http://androidcloudcam.net/
    Thanks. I've just this past Friday exchanged my Galaxy Android for an iPhone. Have you a similar recommendation for iOS? Thanks.
    I am responsible for my writing, not your understanding of it.

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    Accomplished Advocate color of law's Avatar
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    The memo uses the Probable cause standard not reasonable suspicion.
    Probable cause vs reasonable suspicion:
    Reasonable suspicion means that the officer has sufficient knowledge to believe that criminal activity is at hand. This level of knowledge is less than that of probable cause, so reasonable suspicion is usually used to justify a brief frisk in a public area or a traffic stop at roadside.

    When you look at the memo in whole, it's a warning shot across the bow, officer don't be screwing with people recording your actions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by color of law View Post
    The memo uses the Probable cause standard not reasonable suspicion.
    Probable cause vs reasonable suspicion:
    Reasonable suspicion means that the officer has sufficient knowledge to believe that criminal activity is at hand. This level of knowledge is less than that of probable cause, so reasonable suspicion is usually used to justify a brief frisk in a public area or a traffic stop at roadside.

    When you look at the memo in whole, it's a warning shot across the bow, officer don't be screwing with people recording your actions.
    http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/police/...lorder6031.pdf

    ^^^ direct link to "memo"...looks like the PD only respects 3 of the federal amendments ...

    On the whole the memo shows a complete misunderstanding of the law.

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    At least they are giving some consideration to Riley v Ca, 134 S. Ct. 2473.

    Nemo

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    Regular Member solus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by color of law View Post
    The memo uses the Probable cause standard not reasonable suspicion.
    Probable cause vs reasonable suspicion:
    Reasonable suspicion means that the officer has sufficient knowledge to believe that criminal activity is at hand. This level of knowledge is less than that of probable cause, so reasonable suspicion is usually used to justify a brief frisk in a public area or a traffic stop at roadside.

    When you look at the memo in whole, it's a warning shot across the bow, officer don't be screwing with people recording your actions.
    absolute thumbs up,

    but seems to lack the enforcement of what happens if the officer does screw up...

    ipse
    I'm only human; I do what I can; I'm just a man; I do what I can; Don't put the blame on me; Don't put your blame on me ~ Rag'n'Bone Man.

    Please do not get confused between my personality & my attitude. My personality is who I am ~ my attitude depends on who you are and how you act.

    Remember always, do not judge someone because they sin differently than you do!

    Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. Mark Twain

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    Quote Originally Posted by solus View Post
    absolute thumbs up,

    but seems to lack the enforcement of what happens if the officer does screw up...

    ipse

    And, there is the crucial point.

    If the reader will google something called CALEA, he will find it is a company that "certifies" police departments. Early in CALEA's sales pitch, the reader will find the promotional point that CALEA certification leads to lower municipal insurance rates. Fairfax County PD is "accredited" by CALEA.

    Having a policy, (called a General Order in paramilitary police parlance), is meaningless. It is just there for looks.

    I have personally been seized twice by Fairfax County PD in fishing expeditions (traffic stops for tail-light burned out, both times). Fairfax Co PD "policy" (general orders) requires the cops, absent exigent (emergency) or mitigating circumstances) to immediately greet the driver, identify themselves, and state the basis for the stop. Not only did the Ffx cops not do that, the one time I expressly asked why I was seized, the cop said, and I quote, "We'll get to that in a minute." Even though department "policy" requires him to state that without me even having to ask.

    The reason for this new policy about leaving alone people recording cops is so the PD is on record as having a "policy". Look to lawsuits about violations of rights. If a person proves a policy, written or not, or a custom, that allows a rights violation, the person suing is that much closer to winning his lawsuit against a police department. By making notice of this toothless so-called policy, Ffx County PD is really giving evidence to undermine future lawsuits--"See, see! We issued this policy!!" But, as Solus points out, it is toothless--no penalty for violation.

    Want more evidence of the disingenuousness of this policy? When did recording police hit the national consciousness in a big way? Four years ago--2012. Remember the video of that biker who was speeding, and then cut off by an off-duty Maryland cop who threatened him with a gun? And, then across that summer more and more cases of cops seizing I-phones, or threatening people for recording them, various police using a bogus interpretation of wire-tap statutes to justify threatening or arresting citizens recording them? Then a federal circuit expressly ruled people have a right to record cops (as though it takes a court to explain something they should already know.) All that was four years ago.

    And, Fairfax County only now gets around to issuing a policy? Suuuuuuuuure. With no penalty for violation? Yeah, right.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    Quote Originally Posted by solus View Post
    absolute thumbs up,

    but seems to lack the enforcement of what happens if the officer does screw up...

    ipse
    They got a good union ... and a union contract. Politicians sign off on these contracts. They bind their employer.

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