Hours after Baltimore police officials told 3,100 officers they can’t arrest or seize cameras from people merely for photographing or videotaping them, officers were caught on tape seemingly doing just that, reports the Baltimore Sun. The National Press Photographers Association voiced its concern to Police Commissioner Frederick Bealefeld. The new video showed officers threatening to arrest a man near a market for taping an arrest.
“While it is understandable that your officers had a heightened sense of awareness during this incident, that is still no excuse for them not to recognize a citizen’s right to record a matter of public concern occurring in a public place,” the photographers say. “Law enforcement agencies are established to uphold and enforce existing laws, not to use them as a pretext to punish someone exercising their free speech right to take photographs/videotape in public. This activity is protected by the First Amendment and may not be restricted by officers wishing to avoid the documentation of their actions.”