Federal Judge Rules That Secret Recording of Police Is Okay in MA
Until recently, a Massachusetts law prohibited the act of recording police and government officials without their knowledge. This week, a federal judge ruled the law unconstitutional, violating the First Amendment.
According the MassLive, Chief United States District Judge Patti B. Saris ruled on two similar cases. One case involved two Boston area residents who frequently record police officers and the second involved Project Veritas, an undercover organization founded by conservative political activist James O'Keefe.
Both cases involved people who had refrained from secretly recording police because the Suffolk District Attorney and Boston PD were interpreting state law in a way that threatened legal repercussion if they did.
One of the Boston area residents in the first case has openly live streamed police officers performing their duties in public several times since 2011. The recordings consist of one-on-one interactions with police, traffic and pedestrian stops, and protests. They had never conducted secret recordings of police and "both have stated that their desire to record secretly stems from a fear that doing so openly will endanger their safety and provoke hostility from officers."
From now on, they won't have to worry about the legality of secretly recording officers and government officials in public, thanks to Judge Saris' ruling that the law went against citizens' First Amendment rights.