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Advisory: Press Conference on Major Legal Action Concerning Suffolk County Police Department

April 10th, 2012 by Mickey Osterreicher

CONTACTS:

Mickey Osterreicher 716.688.7800 / [email protected]

Mike Cummings, NYCLU, 212.607.3368 / [email protected]

Amol Sinha, NYCLU, 631.650.2301 / [email protected]

Tomorrow (4/11/12): Press Conference on Major Legal Action Concerning Suffolk County Police Department

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 April 10, 2012 — Tomorrow (4/11/12) at 1 p.m. in Central Islip, the New York Civil Liberties Union, the law firm of Davis Wright Tremaine, LLP, and the National Press Photographers Association will hold a press conference to announce a legal action regarding the Suffolk County Police Department’s policy and practice of obstructing the First Amendment right of the press and the public to record and gather the news about police activity in public places.

The legal action concerns a July 2011 incident in which professional video journalist and NPPA member Philip Datz was unlawfully arrested and detained by Suffolk County police while filming police activity on a public street in Bohemia. Following his release and the return of his equipment and tape, Datz posted video of the encounter on YouTube.

What:

Press conference to announce legal action against Suffolk County Police Department

When:

Wednesday, April 11 at 1 p.m.

Where:

NYCLU Suffolk County Chapter’s office, which is located at the Touro Law Public Advocacy Center, 225 Eastview Drive in Central Islip

Who:

Mickey Osterreicher, NPPA General Counsel

Robert Balin, attorney with Davis Wright Tremaine

Philip Datz

Amol Sinha, attorney and director of NYCLU Suffolk County Chapter

We will provide you with copies of the press release and filed complaint tomorrow.

 

Posted in Davis Wright Tremaine, First Amendment, First Amendment rights, Fourth Amendment, Fourth Amendment rights, National Press Photographers Association, News Photography, Newsgathering, NPPA, NYCLU, Phillip Datz, photographers, Photographers' Rights, photojournalism, Police, Privacy Protection Act of 1980, Recording Police, Robert Balin, Sgt. Michael Milton, Suffolk COunty Police, video cameras | No Comments »

Rescheduled: Press Conference on Major Legal Action Concerning Suffolk County Police Department

April 9th, 2012 by Mickey Osterreicher

UPDATE – April 10, 2012 ************

Due to the emergency situation in Suffolk County caused by wild fires we have decided to reschedule the filing of the lawsuit and press conference against the County. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the brave men and women who are working tirelessly fighting this fire.

Unless the emergency situation continues, the press conference is now scheduled for Wednesday, April 11, 2012. We will confirm and update as to time and location as soon as we have more information on the fire.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

—————————————————-

 April 9, 2012 — Tomorrow at 9:45 a.m. in Central Islip, the New York Civil Liberties Union, the law firm of Davis Wright Tremaine, LLP, and the National Press Photographers Association will hold a media availability to announce a legal action regarding Suffolk County’s policy and practice of obstructing the First Amendment right of the press and the public to record and gather the news about police activity in public places.

The legal action concerns a July 2011 incident in which professional video journalist Philip Datz was unlawfully arrested and detained by Suffolk County police while filming police activity on a public street in Bohemia, NY.

Mr. Datz, Attorney Robert Balin, a partner with Davis Wright Tremaine, and NYCLU Suffolk County Chapter Director Amol Sinha will be available for interviews tomorrow starting at 9:45 a.m. at the NYCLU Suffolk County Chapter’s office, which is located at Touro Law Public Advocacy center, 225 Eastview Drive in Central Islip. Mickey Osterreicher, NPPA General Counsel will be available by telephone 716.983.7800.

 

Posted in Access, confiscated, Davis Wright Tremaine, False Arrest, First Amendment, First Amendment rights, Fourth Amendment, Fourth Amendment rights, Lawsuit, Legal, National Press Photographers Association, News Photography, Newsgathering, NPPA, NYCLU, photographers, Photographers' Rights, photojournalism, Police, Recording Police, Robert Balin, Sgt. Michael Milton | No Comments »

Right to Record–Recording in Public Meetings is a Right in Arkansas

April 3rd, 2012 by Alicia Calzada and tagged , , , , , , , ,

The Attorney General in Arkansas issued an opinion letter ruling on Monday confirming that a city council in the state did not have the right to ban video recordings of public meetings.

The Associated Press is reporting that the White River Current newspaper sought an official opinion from the AG’s office after the local city council in Calico Rock banned recordings from its meetings. The newspaper had posted council meeting videos on YouTube.

Three questions were posed to the AG, including

1) whether or not the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act granted citizens a right to make a video recording of a public meeting of elected officials?

A: Yes.

2) whether a claim that recording is “disruptive” because a council member is uncomfortable being recorded, sufficient reason to ban recording.

A: No.

3) whether or not the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution grants citizens the right to record public officials in performance of their duties.

A: No- the First Amendment does not grant peopel the right to make a tape recording of a public meeting.

In an eleven page opinion, the AG said, in summary:

When one reads the FOIA broadly to foster greater openness and more disclosure—as we are required to do—I believe there are good grounds to conclude that our FOIA affords persons the right to videotape a public meeting. According to my research, this also accords with the law in the overwhelming majority of states. But, in response to your second question, the right to videotape a public meeting is subject to the public body’s reasonable regulation. While such regulation cannot ban videotaping, the regulation can ensure that the activity is done in a manner that does not disrupt the meeting. In my view, the mere fact that a member of the public body is uncomfortable being filmed is not a sufficient reason to ban the videotaping. When it comes to videotaping public meetings, the FOIA appears to give greater rights than does the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution because—in response to your third question—the amendment does not give people a right to videotape public proceedings.

The opinion is loaded with interesting case law and citations to various state FOI decisions. See in particular footnotes on page 3, for an analysis of various states and the right to record public meetings, with citations to rules expressly permitting recording in Indiana, South Carolina and Kentucky. The opinion can be found at this link.

 

Posted in Access, blogging, broadcasting, First Amendment, News Photography, Newsgathering, photographers, Photographers' Rights, photojournalism, Public Forum, Public Photography, Reasonable Expectation of Privacy, Recording, Regulations limiting photography | No Comments »