VERIFY: Can you record law enforcement?

Recording a video is easy with today's smartphones, but do you have the right to record incidents involving law enforcement?

Recording a video is easy with today’s smartphones, but do you have the right to record incidents involving law enforcement?

A witness video in connection to the fatal beating of a 24-year-old by an off-duty deputy's husband outside a local Denny’s restaurant was recently released. In the video, you hear people telling the person behind the camera to stop.

RELATED: New video shows deputy's husband overpower Denny's victim

“It's illegal to record, just stop! If you continue, you will go to jail. Can you stop?,” said bystanders who didn't want the deputy recorded.

But what are your rights? Can you record a fight involving a deputy on or off duty?

Our verify team took a closer look, and here’s what we found:

  • According to the American Civil Liberties Union, you can take pictures or video of anything that is in plain sight from public spaces. It is your first amendment right.
  • This right includes the inside of federal buildings and airports or of police and other government officials doing their jobs.
  • In most cases, a police officer can’t demand to see your photos, videos or search the contents of your phone without a warrant. They'd have to prove to a court that you have evidence of a crime they don't have.

In conclusion, we can verify that you can record law enforcement whether on or off duty if you are in a public space. And no, you do not have to turn your phone over to an officer, even if they demand it.

VERIFY: Resources 

 American Civil Liberties Union

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