A federal appeals court has ruled that Americans have the right to videotape police officers in public, thereby allowing a court case brought against New Hampshire police to progress.
Carla Gericke was arrested in 2010 for videotaping members of the Weare Police Department who pulled over her friend during a traffic stop. Her video camera malfunctioned, however, and she failed to record evidence of the incident.
Nevertheless, Gericke was arrested for disobeying a police officer, obstructing a government official, and “unlawful interception of oral communications,” the court said. Concerning her failed efforts to record the incident, the court noted that the malfunction was irrelevant: “We agree that Gericke’s First Amendment right does not depend on whether her attempt to videotape was frustrated by a technical malfunction. There is no dispute that she took out the camera in order to record the traffic stop.”