March 7

The Legality of Filming Police Officers

Recently, people have been asking me if it’s legal to film a police officer conducting an arrest. Filming in a public place is analyzed under the Right to Privacy doctrine contained in the United States Constitution. People have a right to privacy in certain places like their bedroom or a bathroom. That’s why it is illegal to film someone even in a public bathroom. But outdoors in public no one has a right to privacy. In this sense, police officers are no different than anyone else. They can be filmed in public just as you can if stopped by a police officer with a body cam or motor vehicle recorder. The police may try and intimidate you into shutting your camera off, but you have the legal right to keep filming police officers as long as you are not interfering with their investigation.