Mr. Glik was forced to defend himself against criminal charges of illegal wiretapping, aiding the escape of a prisoner, and disturbing the peace. After a judge threw out those charges, Glik filed a civil rights suit against the city and the arresting officers in federal court in Boston, aided by the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts and Boston attorneys Howard Friedman and David Milton. This settlement resolves that case.
The settlement follows a landmark ruling last August by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, declaring that the First Amendment protects the right to record police carrying out their duties in a public place, Glik v. Cunniffe 655 F.3d 78 (2011). The First Circuit's ruling is binding only in MA, NH, ME, RI, & Puerto Rico, but its persuasive reasoning has been cited by courts and lawyers nationwide facing the recurrent issue of police arresting people for filming them.
The MA wiretap statute prohibits only secret recording of audio. The First Circuit in Glik's case affirmed that an arrest under the statute for openly recording the police would violate not only the 1st. Amendment right to gather information but also the 4th. Amendment's guarantee against false arrests.
In Massachusetts, Wunsch said Attorney General Martha Coakley and police chiefs should be informing officers not to abuse the law by charging civilians with illegally recording them in public.
The cases are the courts’ concern, said Coakley spokesman Harry Pierre. “At this time, this office has not issued any advisory or opinion on this issue.’’
Another Chapter in the war on cameras.
Simon Glik's arrest in 2007 for videotaping police engaged in a drug arrest near Boston Common led to a serious of lawsuits that effectively raised the troubling issue of barriers to recording public officials, particular cops, to national prominence. In the end Glik was victorious as the court ruled that the right to record police or public officials in public extends beyond journalists.
Broward driver busted by cops, exonerated by cellphone.
Florida - The recent real-life case of a stranded motorist-turned-alleged felon, there was one juicy twist: The whole altercation was caught on tape under the most outlandish of circumstances.
None of this would have happened if the driver — Susan Mait, a 60-year-old widow from Coral Springs — hadn’t dropped her phone to the floor of her SUV while the cops yanked her from the vehicle. Unbeknownst to any of them, the phone was still connected to a GEICO customer service rep, who, following company policy, recorded everything that happened.
The audio tape, made public this week, depicts a starkly different exchange than what Stasnek and Fernandes described in their reports and during questioning under oath.
The recording catches Stasnek cursing out Mait (although the officer later denied it), giving no advance warning that Mait was about to be cuffed for resisting arrest (although the officer testified that she had done so three times), and later hashing out a plan with her fellow officer to make sure their stories jibed (they did).
The explosive recording prompted prosecutors to drop all outstanding charges against Mait — and focus their attention on the officers.