No, Illinois has not made the filming of cops illegal

Here’s an important lesson which I hope all readers of this blog already know:

Don’t believe everything you read on the internet.

There’s a new meme going around about how terrible that new law in Illinois is because it makes it a crime to film police! 2009-Dodge-Charger-police-car-1 Except, of course, that it doesn’t.

Mind you, I am all in favor of filming police when they perform their actions.  I support cameras in police cars and on officers. In fact, a dashboard camera video recently helped me get a “not guilty” finding for my client in a trial since it contradicted the officer’s statement and showed that my client was not “intoxicated, staggering, and slurring his words.”

This Illinois law is very similar to one we have here in Pennsylvania, which I support.  It prohibits you being filmed without your consent in private situations.  It does not protect you when you are in obvious public places where your expectation of privacy is minimal.

In other words, the law prevents me from secretly recording a phone call with you, secretly recording a private conversation, or otherwise infringing on your privacy.  It also prevents you from secretly recording a police officer in his private life in matters that are unrelated to his job or in situations where, for instance, the cop is having a private talk with a judge or a lawyer in a courtroom. That’s a good thing.

This law does not protect police officers in the traditional course of their duty, even if they are talking to you privately — because the officer has no “expectation of privacy” in his position.

The law has the support of the ACLU, because it protects privacy.  It’s a good law.  The meme trying to make people dislike it is misguided.

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