Civil Libertarians Challenge Arrests For Videotaping Police Action


Some Massachusetts police officers are arresting people who videotape them, in what civil libertarians call a troubling misuse of the state's wiretapping law to stifle the kind of street-level oversight that cellphone and video technology make possible, the Boston Globe reports. “The police apparently do not want witnesses to what they do in public,'' said Sarah Wunsch of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, who helped to get criminal charges in one such case dismissed.

Boston police spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll rejected the idea that police are abusing the law to block citizen oversight, saying officers are trained about the wiretap law. “If an individual is inappropriately interfering with an arrest that could cause harm to an officer or another individual, an officer's primary responsibility is to ensure the safety of the situation,'' she said.

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