Once again, a television news station claims to be clueless about citizens right to record cops, insisting a recent incident in which a Florida woman ended up in handcuffs is “raising new questions about what rights citizens have when it comes to recording deputies on duty.”
The “raises new questions” phrase has become an overused cliche with the media when discussing this issue because it allows them to take a passive stance, rather than come out and say the Orange County Sheriff’s Office screwed up, which might lose them access to the Police PR Spin Machine, which they depend on for their nightly newscasts.
So the media resorts to seeking out attorneys to confirm what everybody but the cops know; that we have the right to record cops on duty. This is not a new issue, so there are no “new questions” that are being raised.
You would think that if anybody would know this, it would be the media, but that’s part of the problem why cops continue to abuse this right.
But at least WFTV in Central Florida reported on the incident, even if it did land on their lap. But note they didn’t even list the name of the deputy.
A woman called Eyewitness News after a cellphone recording nearly got her arrested, and it’s raising new questions about what rights citizens have when it comes to recording deputies on duty.
Bethany, who did not want to give her last name, was approached by an Orange County Sheriff’s Deputy conducting a traffic stop at the Citgo gas station near Semoran Boulevard and Old Chaney Road.
The video shows the deputy telling her she is not allowed to videotape him.
Bethany said she pulled out her phone and started recording when two deputies pulled over a car at the pump next to hers and was put in handcuffs moments later.
“I told him, ‘Don’t take my phone’, and then he took my phone and put me in handcuffs in front of my daughter and little sister,” she said.
Bethany believes she would have been arrested, but deputies noticed the kids in her car, so they issued her a trespass warning, but she believes she was in the right.
“She was in a public place pumping gas and in the right, as long as she did not interfere with their investigation to record what was going on,” said WFTV’s legal expert, Belvin Perry. “Record it, but don’t get in an argument with a law enforcement officer on the street about doing that.”
UPDATE: Here is the original video where the deputy claims a Florida statute makes it illegal for her to record him before threatening to take the phone into “evidence.”