Police in Illinois raided an underage drinking party over the weekend, arresting several teens on felony wiretapping charges for videotaping the raid.
At first, I had reported the arrests took place in Iowa because it was an Iowa news station that reported it, but Galesburg is right across the border.
Iowa is a one-party consent state, meaning you do not need the other person’s permission to record them.
Illinois is a two-party consent state, meaning you’re supposed to let the other person know you are recording them.
However, wiretapping laws are designed for telephone conversations where the other party cannot visibly see who is recording them.
But lately police around the country have been using these laws to crack down on people who videotape them in public, including a case in Maryland where they arresrted a motorcyclist after he had uploaded a video to Youtube showing a cop pulling a gun on him at a traffic stop.
After several months of facing prison time, a judge tossed out the case against Anthony Graber on the grounds that police do not have an expectation of privacy while conducting their public duties.
But Illinois is the only state in the nation that actually makes it illegal to record police, even if they are in public.
The law is hugely unconstitutional and needs to be revised, but until then, police will continue arresting people who videotape them.