In today’s tense and emotionally charged society, citizens are more cautious than ever when interacting with law enforcement personnel. They are also more vigilant, and ready to aid in helping ensure that their rights and those of others are being upheld.
One needs to look no further than local Miami news to see that incidents of police brutality, overstepping the bounds of authority, and violations of citizen’s rights are rampant. While most law enforcement officers are upstanding public servants who follow proper protocols, others may feel like the badge entitles them to act outside of the law.
For those that feel they have been unfairly targeted or that their rights are being (or have been) violated, video proof from a smartphone or other device may act both as a deterrent as well as crucial evidence to later support their case in court.
But is filming an “on duty” officer legal in Miami? Former Assistant State Attorney for Miami-Dade, Chad Piotrowski, of Piotrowski Law, wants citizens to know their rights, having recently published key information regarding what a citizen is allowed to record on camera.
The Legality of Filming an “On Duty” Police Officer
According to Piotrowski, two-party consent represents a handful of states where an individual must obtain prior consent from any party (or parties) being recorded on film. The silver lining for residents of Florida is that on-duty law enforcement officers are not considered “parties” under Florida law.
As such, Piotrowski wants individuals to know that they do have a legal right to video an “on duty” police officer with an “openly displayed device”, meaning that the device is not a “hidden camera” and that the officer can see you are recording if they looked in your direction. This law stems from a theory of law regarding what is considered a “reasonable expectation of privacy”. Officers performing their duties in the view of the public are not considered to have a reasonable expectation of privacy, and as such, may be openly recorded.
Unlawful Arrests for Filming a Police Officer
Piotrowski wants individuals to know that although they may record police officers in public, there are some limitations that could put them at risk of arrest if not adhered to.
For example, the recording must be done “openly” and not secretly. The officer being recorded must also be in view of the “general public”. Further, the individual recording must ensure they are non-threatening in every way both with verbal and non-verbal communication. Care must also be taken to not interfere or impede the officer with regards to their legal duties, investigations and more.
Despite an individual’s best efforts to stay within their rights of the law, police officers may “feel” they are being challenged, threatened, or angered that they are being recorded. They may taunt, make verbal threats, or threats of arrests or impounding of your device.
If an officer warns that it is illegal to film them, an individual does have the right to respectfully inform the officer that under Florida state law openly recording an officer in public view is legal.
If a police officer has overstepped their bounds by making an unlawful arrest or impounding a device, contacting a police brutality attorney in Miami is critical.
About Piotrowski Law
Conveniently located in downtown Miami, Florida, Piotrowski Law is led by renowned criminal defense attorney Chad Piotrowski. A former Assistant State Attorney for Miami-Dade County, Piotrowski has leveraged his insider expertise and knowledge of local processes, along with his connections to establish and grow a respected law firm with a track record of vigorous client representation, advocacy and results.
Those that feel their rights may have been infringed upon are encouraged to reach out to Piotrowski Law by calling 305-783-3436 or reaching out via their official website for a no-cost initial consultation.
Company Name: Piotrowski Law
Contact Person: Chad Piotrowski
Email: Send Email
Phone: (305) 204-5000
Address:169 East Flagler Street Suite 1600
Country: United States