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Court: In Philly cases, no First Amendment right to film police | Ron DeLord

PHILADELPHIA PA--You have no First Amendment right to videotape or take pictures of police officers without a specific, critical reason for doing so, according to a ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

The court ruled Friday in Fields vs. City of Philadelphia that absent “any state purpose of being critical of the government,” your freedom of expression and speech is not applicable when recording the activities of police officers.

The decision comes off of a joint lawsuit filed by Amanda Geraci and Richard Fields. In 2013, Fields, an undergraduate at Temple University, was recording about 20 police officers outside a house party on campus.

Fields refused to leave when asked by officers, who subsequently detained and handcuffed him, taking away his cell phone and putting him in the back of a police van. His reason for filming was that he “just thought that would make a great picture ”

Geraci, a self-described “legal observer,” was filming an environmental protest in Philly a year earlier. When she moved close to an officer arresting a protester, she said she was physically restrained by an officer and prevented from recording the arrest.

Both sued the city on the grounds they faced retaliation for exercising their First Amendment rights.

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