The activities of the police, like those of other public officials, are subject to public scrutiny. Indeed, "the First Amendment protects a significant amount of verbal criticism and challenge directed at police officers." City of Houston, Tex. v. Hill
, 482 U.S. 451, 461 (1987). Although Robinson need not assert any particular reason for videotaping the troopers, he was doing so in order to make a visual record of what he believed was the unsafe manner in which they were performing their duties. He had previously talked to Arthur Hershey, a Representative in the Pennsylvania General Assembly, about his concerns. Robinson's right to free speech encompasses the right to receive information and ideas. Stanley v. Georgia
, 394 U.S. 557, 564 (1969). He also has a First Amendment right to express his concern about the safety of the truck inspections to the appropriate government agency or officials, whether his expression takes the form of speech or conduct. See Texas v. Johnson
, 491 U.S. 397, 404 (1989); Minnesota State Board for Cmty. Colleges v. Knight
, 465 U.S. 271, 308 (1984).
Videotaping is a legitimate means of gathering information for public dissemination and can often provide cogent evidence, as it did in this case. In sum, there can be no doubt that the free speech clause of the Constitution protected Robinson as he videotaped the defendants on October 23, 2002. See Smith v. City of Cumming
, 212 F.3d 1332, 1333 (11th Cir. 2000); see also Stanley
, 394 U.S. at 564 (1969); Whiteland Woods, L.P. v. Township of West Whiteland
, 193 F.3d 177, 180 (3d Cir. 1999).
Moreover, to the extent that the troopers were restraining Robinson from making any future videotapes and from publicizing or publishing what he had filmed, the defendants' conduct clearly amounted to an unlawful prior restraint upon his protected speech. Vance v. Universal Amusement Co., Inc.
, 445 U.S. 308, 316 & n.13, 317 (1980); Near v. State of Minnesota ex. rel. Olson
, 283 U.S. 697 (1931).