First Amendment Right to Record the Police Performing Their Duties in Public

The U.S. Justice Department opined May 14 that the First Amendment does secure such a right, reaffirming a January letter that I had missed. “Recording governmental officers engaged in public duties,” the letter reasons, “is a form of speech through which private individuals may gather and disseminate information of public concern, including the conduct of law enforcement officers.”

The letter, addressed to the Baltimore Police Department based on the Department’s past interference with such recording, is consistent with the Seventh Circuit’s May 8 decision in ACLU v. Alvarez (which it doesn’t cite) and the First Circuit’s decision in Glik v. Cunliffe (which it does cite, together with some other cases).