Today [August 15], the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri, St. Louis County, the City of Ferguson and the Missouri Highway Patrol reached an agreement in federal court for the right to record police. This action was prompted when videographers were commanded to turn off their video cameras Wednesday evening at a gathering of protesters held to demand justice in the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson.
The signing parties ― attorneys representing the ACLU of Missouri, St. Louis County, the City of Ferguson and the Superintendent of the Missouri Highway Patrol ― “acknowledge and agree that the media and members of the public have the right to record public events without abridgement unless it obstructs the activities or threatens the safety of others, or physically interferes with the ability of law enforcement officers to perform their duties.”
“The role of both the media and the ACLU is to make sure that the rule of law is being followed,” explains Tony Rothert, legal director of the ACLU of Missouri. “It will be easier to do that in Ferguson, now that all parties agree the media, and the public at large, have the right to record police interactions.”
“The grief of our community should not be compounded by First Amendment violations,” says Jeffrey A. Mittman, ACLU of Missouri executive director. “Rest assured that the ACLU is working hard to make sure mourners can peacefully assemble without the threat of being told to turn off their cameras.”
The ACLU of Missouri is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization dedicated to defending and expanding the constitutional rights and civil liberties of all Missourians guaranteed by the U.S. and Missouri Constitutions, and is an affiliate of the national ACLU.