Federal Court Rules You Can Be Arrested Simply for Filming the Police


By Derrick Broze at theantimedia.org


Philadelphia, PA — A federal appeals court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has ruled that filming the police without a specific challenge or criticism is not constitutionally protected.

The cases of Fields v. City of Philadelphia, and Geraci v. City of Philadelphiainvolve two different incidents where individuals were arrested for filming the police. Richard Fields, a Temple University student, was arrested after stopping to take a picture of a large group of police outside a house party. Amanda Geraci, a legal observer with CopWatch Berkeley, attended a large protest against fracking in September 2012 and was arrested while filming the arrest of another protester.

Both Fields and Geraci are seeking damages from the Philadelphia Police Department for violating their Constitutional right to videotape public officials. Previous rulings have found the public has a right to record police as form of “expressive conduct,” such as a protest or criticism, which is protected by the First Amendment.

The appeals court was specifically tasked with finding out whether or not the public has a First Amendment right to photograph and film police without a clear expression of criticism or challenge to police conduct.

The court wrote:

Fields’ and Geraci’s alleged ‘constitutionally protected conduct’ consists of observing and photographing, or making a record of, police activity in a public forum. Neither uttered any words to the effect he or she sought to take pictures to oppose police activity. Their particular behavior is only afforded First Amendment protection if we construe it as expressive conduct.

The court ultimately stated, “We find no basis to craft a new First Amendment right based solely on ‘observing and recording’ without expressive conduct.”

Absent any authority from the Supreme Court or our Court of Appeals, we decline to create a new First Amendment right for citizens to photograph officers when they have no expressive purpose such as challenging police actions,” the decision concluded.

Eugene Volokh, a professor of law at UCLA, disagrees with the decision and says he believes it will eventually be overturned by the Third Circuit Court upon appeal.

Whether one is physically speaking (to challenge or criticize the police or to praise them or to say something else) is relevant to whether one is engaged in expression,” Volokh wrote in the Washington Post.But it’s not relevant to whether one is gathering information, and the First Amendment protects silent gathering of information (at least by recording in public) for possible future publication as much as it protects loud gathering of information.

Whether or not the ruling is overturned, it should serve as a reminder to all free hearts and minds that the cost of liberty is eternal vigilance. We cannot become passive and allow the ruling class and despots in government to subvert our path towards liberation. Now more than ever we need communities to actively organize copwatching and politician-watching campaigns that encourage accountability and transparency.  We must also remain strong in our sense of morality and principles, and not allow what is “legal” or “constitutional” to limit us in our fight for freedom.

This article (Federal Court Rules You Can Be Arrested Simply for Filming the Police) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Derrick Brozeand theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11 pm Eastern/8 pm Pacific. Image credit: Peripitus. If you spot a typo, please email the error and name of the article at [email protected].


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  1. provocations, now? what if they are false cops? that’s no protection for the people… that is abusing of the people… why don’t the cops know about that move and ideology… maggets elite pieces of shit…

  2. Everyone just needs a side arm. There would be no need for police then. Thats why we are having such a hard time keeping our guns out of federal hands

    • Ya, everyone should always carry a gun… Doctors while working, preschool teachers, construction crews already weighed down with heavy tools, scientists entering magnetic fields where metal is dangerous, if everyone were just extremely inconvenienced all the time by carrying a gun and forced to have the money to buy a weapon and the proper training to use said gun then they’ll be safe… As long as the bad guy isn’t faster…. Wake the fuck up guns everywhere is at its core an impractical solution. The pen (or in this instance the camera) is always mightier than the sword (or in this case a gun)

      • everything you just said also applies to the police who carry gun’s for our “protection” it’s not a matter of giving people guns = instant justice.. it’s the fact that an 80 year old woman being attacked for her purse HAS A FIGHTING CHANCE…. life’s not fair and wanting it to be will simply make you unsatisfied… the best you can ask for is a chance. it’s put in your hands weather or not you succeed or fail. also guns are fucking cheap. you can make a liberator for like 3 bucks worth of sheet metal and springs… you can kill more people with your car. your car is more dangerous then a gun in just about EVERY way unless of course you’re on top of a building. then you’re pretty safe from most cars.. other then that the number of people i could kill by running over on a full tank of gas on an average day FAR out numbers the number of people i could kill if i lined them up and every pullet killed the maximum number of people it’s capable of killing in one clip… and people DO kill people with there cars. all the time every day. a good number of them happen on purpose. even the army runs people over with tanks and shit. wheres the laws on cars? why don’t we wanna get rid of them? we’d get 1/3 of our developed world back from being parking lots and everything around you would become walking distance.. not to mention the amount of metal we need to dig out of the ground to make a car vs making a gun. think we do that shit by hand with pick axes still? Naw massive machines that burn gas to make a machine that burns more gas… the shit you worry about is arbitrary at best and isn’t a great example of something we should be listening to, to know what we should worry about…

  3. Be that as it may, personal bodycams cost $10 on Amazon and cams hidden in sunglasses cost $18. Camming will continue. Just not so the police can see it.

  4. thanks Dan, someone with some common sense, who fuckin cares if its “illegal” we all know laws are made to control the populous. and its only a matter of time before the populous recognizes the laws that are crooked and unjust, and revolt against them.

  5. how does a good cop defend against a bad cop? and a out of duty without badge cop defend against a false cop? doesn’t everyone see that they are taking everything from everyone? even the right to live and then defend themselves… I am behind you elite, i am fighting for the same reasons of everyone and you will fail… because i can make your end now and end you now… be really really careful… you don’t threat another human being in presence eye for an eye tooth for a tooth and much less you threat two humans and less three and then other kind and nature of animal appear and you do not threat him/her in presence and then the trees and then the water and then all forms of life neither the planet neither the energies of the universe… you will not succeed nor move a finger because i smash you right right now bitches… you will not scare no one else anymore… you can’t scare any other animal nor plant maggets… you are not bigger than the universe nor the forms of life and all forms of energy… without them you don’t exist… if you want to prove me and everyone else wrong we make the test now… everyone put the elite in a chamber without anything else… no eat, no sleep, no pee, no poo, no water, no thoughts, no happiness, no move, imagine the fear you are right now bitches… come here and get me bitches… if you care about everything… right???? long story… making blocks of freedom and belief hein??? if the police, military, interpol, space agencies, scientists, hackers, anyone in the world knew what i know you wouldn’t make this world game against me… fuckin’ shits… you are so weak… no one knows… you do not face no one face-to-face without weapons… your advantage is just the walls you wear through the governments… i will end you… ok, it’s enough… those bitches are robbing intelligence to everyone… and how are they in the top of scientists of every science company in the world??? because they do house-keep your dreams and your thoughts… why do every scientist did nothing about it??? because with clarity of the mind comes comprehension and abstraction so no one knows, instead of me… i can neutralize you in seconds even quarantine… do not try the supercomputers or anything else of your dirty delusion and illusion tricks… because you cannot defeat me nor everyone and everything else… humanity must know that they are not alone as the only species they have all the other beings to protect with a lot more comprehension of sentience than those people… so ESP, sentience, free will, free energy, (Nicola Tesla research), how everything is linked?? energy… no world war because intelligence agencies would talk with hackers and scientists and talk w/ them about that and have a big probability of leak information… so how do they protect the hoax of ww3… do the intelligence agencies and police and military organisations know??? nor secret service i believe… or else leak again… and whistleblowers… depopulation is working through fog screens in consciousness to make it appear normal… anything that disturbs the natural ecosystem by brutal interference propagation in any way is an attack from the elite to depopulate and silence people through fears of evil research… why so many scientists and there is so many viruses and no cure??? weird… o^, ^o… so why closing the minds to everyone though third eye and disturbances in the body chemistry synchronicity and vibration through pollution… because you still humans… this, that we live is the real nature of the birth gift… why don’t you tell everyone else??? There is no war, no uncomprehension… there is hide and seek game… do you thing this reality, if it was a simulation we would born from all the evolution and strength of all the other beings??? do you think you are so unique?? why don’t you work for yourselves??? and research and build for yourselves??? i think, even, there are no aliens at earth… because you can’t comprehend other beings nor protect them, you are killing them… so where are all the teachings and coordination and relation and understanding with all the other beings??? see, you don’t understand nothing, nor intelligence, nor brain… I can zero you out completely… and you can’t defend yourselves… big forces from nature… nature always wins… you don’t comprehend nothing… do you know, people, that there was most probably no mass extinctions at all, because changes in the weather and high cold and high hot can make those marks on the earth and stone… I can force leaks massive and unique from everywhere in the world… or better i don’t even need it… I can also dismount any hoax on earth… humans need to know their origin is on earth because your DNA is similar and vibration and even the distances of the helix of the DNA must be the same because i believe strongly that it changes from planet to planet because gravity is also the joints between particles, it makes the particles and structures closer… and then stronger, bigger, taller beings… because they need strength to defeat gravity per unit capacity… no weather control… weather is changed by magnetism fluxes on the air and on water, so you are distabilising the earth’s natural flux and if you screw it, probably there will be no going back… weather modification is not the answer, it is stop pollution, actually by making smaller groups of people will help a lot… free energy… why no one gets out of their system??? because they take your things and freedom and access out of you and they sell you back for the price of the sweat for working for their greed of wanting the dreams of others and what others can produce and creativity… they envy people in general… The planet(not world) can be saved by comprehension of the point of origin of humanity, its first steps… and its first mistakes… it’s like a baby learning to walk… And beings can have ESP and no need for materialistic world… the star in washington DC means ‘the elite will be protected by the governments and countries and architectures structures’… defeat it and they will fall and never rise again… I believe this problem of the elite dates back to the silk road because it is linked to more or less taken as problematic because teached as so countries and places in the world that is a road by the top of africa, morroco and then egypt and then middle east and the other end is in china… you see those races have things in common, secrets and black markets and things that countries close to a silk road could grab… so you now can imagine that the islamists most probably robbed the ancient egypts, killed them, (so mummies, no floads) and then their race disappeared and they robbed trade secrets and secrets of the mind and manufactoring technologies so then they invaded europe or so and the romans created their technology from technology robbed in the silk road with technologies of trade secrets and espionage and then they infected europe | or by war or by religion | then they populated some places in the world with languages derivated from the latin with influenced by christianism and then they went to america and created the countries, robbed from strong features and traits from europe to create a new race… so you can see now that the french and british quite won on the discoveries era because they went to another places in the world first than others… there are many pyramids in the world and i think that was a secret traded, because what is funny by being different or equal and not unique??? the egypt pyramids were made by the help of sand, it is easy, takes time, you can take the stones, and wood structures would not sustain any of the stones… beings live happy in the world and if the humans learn to coexist and communicate body language with those beings they will be happy too… people live in the world where they can only see the attacks to humans but there are attacks to the animals and eco-systems… and these are not accidental attacks, these are high intentional, hidden from comprehension vector attacks to attack your freedom… beings born babies and they are happy and they understand other beings because they are happy… there is chance to revelate nature on top of everything else and it must be now because beings live in the now so that also means that you need to find happiness in the now and your happiness is also in all other beings because they recognise and coordinate your happiness, alone no one would be happy because it is body language also and states of mind and state of the body… do you know you can fit in biology every other science because you live with those perspectives… the world is separated and joined by secrets… because definitely any big government can guess what the other is making and building and their secrets… politics is just the chatroom of the bullshit that is happening in the world and is a blurred line that separated very well in the eyes of many the elite from the rest of the people… that is only talk made of bullshit… they chat and fart and rap poop subjects at the same time… I think in this planet everyone is losing because no one is having total freedom because freedom probably is not the first word that comes to mind to everyone… humans or any other beings and intelligent ones will know that freedom is not a personal thing and reality it is also the share of freedom and ability to demonstrate to other beings how free you and they are because then you will be able to express anything to any being… the elite will have no more security if all people know that they when the turn end arrives they will ditch them… no one has true freedom, other than me ;), because that one would get out of the system and defeat them immediately… I believe the surveillance system is getting to much data from people, like traits and memories and happiness and consciousness and unique traits and intelligence… imagine what they are robbing locking down all those people with all the research in the world and all those super computers with all that data from fuckin’ facebook invention and ads… I would make networks outside the (*inter*)net because why joining all networks in one?? remember?? surveillance and all intelligence and research to one person or a group of people… and computers will never have the ability to imitate the human mind but gets close sometimes, because of studies that are happening in the world for a lot of years about destiny, fate, astrology, signs, names, birth certificate, birth date, nationality, networks of people, people who you relate with, even if you like more cats or dogs, or you are a red or green person, but naturally i noticed that too young because i remembered that why I should or am like this and not like anybody else, so i started comparing everything, just imagine the quantities of information i knew even from the elite or anyone in the world, any secret, i can probably tell you what is written in a book hidden in a bank of hogwarts in harry potter… but ok… so the total freedom starts where people are free with the free spectrum and diversity of beings, then you understand them easily and have ESP naturally… share of inter-species communication expressions… people in the world are in stress because they have to work to live and they will never be able to solve problems if they don’t calm down and be able to abstract to those problems because when people have stress they don’t see/detect problems nor have the possibility to solve them… There are human words that have second interests and you cannot relate them from nature like abiogenesis or evil or devil or god or virtuality… I think there can be solutions to the planet and earth’s beings habitat and home right now and there should always be now solutions or protection from weirdness attacks, you don’t need to have the virus first to have the antivirus… water purifiers(osmosis-more polluted to less polluted, to preserve quality), earth purifiers, air purifiers (hoovering the air)… planet-free pollution… no dumps no wastes, nothing bad… disassemble and separate and process… or invert all the processes and mixtures of the garbages and wastes… The TV and movies and videos have subliminar messages and ads have messages that alter your sub-consciousness to change through a common-global-consciousness that there is a new pattern, but because you are not sensible enough to the sub-consciousness dimension you don’t notice… but lets say consciousness is kinda constructive memory by now and the beginning is a baby walking relations of memories… I think by now there would be no war and no distinctions if those people understood they are all humans and the same being and do the same things. How people’s consciousness, mind, memories, beliefs, destinies and likes are manipulated? religion, culture, global relational consciousness, media, history, society, education, information and technology… there is a trick to all that after discovering that they are probably trying to distract you from real subjects which is from what are they distracting you? how they are distracting you? and why? you can answer those questions if you pass all that… religion doesn’t exist because why so many religions exist in a world where people see the total inverse to a normal of a religion happen in the other country?? culture, why do you need manners, isn’t this free will and freedom, why don’t you think you are all animals? global relational consciousness is basically synchronised consciousness leaps and changes, so people are thinking that this story is really happening in synthony and why the govs are giving the same steps than the others at the same time, is it defending, is it preview, is it be ready, is it NWO, is it same game? media tells you that the world is crap that humanity is never going to be right and they tell you what do you want to hear with the words people use day by day and think… and media also tells what most of the people think and what the most dumb think like they low the conversation to a ‘low’ human level so deep that everyone without knowing about this world thinks imidiately that we are in war… history is adapted in a way to defend those in power because they hide things from the books and put something in their place or don’t put, so basically history is only a line of the same image through time, the rest that people can distrust they take away from all timeline… it is a way to say that all kings had pink underpants with a rubber duck and the rest is just normal cool normal things that happens everyday to everyone and no one needs to know… society is wrong because people think that bad and evil is normal for humans because humans are and always were -animals-, but there is even a lie in there, where comes the evil, bad reality come from, religion books and astrology also has bad and evil… and they say that if you are son or daughter from problematic people you will never become good… because what??? traits??? genetics or mentality??? memories, consciousness?? education because you study and you will never use everything in jobs to help you, save the world, survival methods, they teach you things so wrong that there are people that reject it, because they instead of teaching you easily they use tricks that with practice enters in the mind through the 99th way you could understand it, memorising it by force but forgetting that the way to get to that information and understanding it is actually more important than the memory itself… sub-memories… information then is all wrong because there is information for all kind of people, and to a few people… like mainstream media vs scrolls ancient precious documents… And technology is made in a way so you can’t copy, you can’t understand, you can’t reason it, you can’t doubt it… there is even the one you can’t dismantle it, or you can’t or you brake it… and then it cost money because no one can copy and give it for free because it was easy to build… all technology could be replaced with comprehensive and easy to build technology and free and natural-friendly… there are infinite ways of doing everything, why do they complicate so much… They do to hide and know what you know without you to perceive… And then the last most important things that will free you all from your predestinated destinies is that the people who practice sports, have the most imagination, have the most creativity, have most knowledge and have diverse ways of living and doing things are more free and more difficult to cheat… then there is all the difficulties of education, religion, society and work and those things are start to be built in school since you are young so you can fail and not understand you could succeed in everything your whole life… and then there are more resistant people to fail in intelligence or strength or life or love or astrology or tarot… so that’s where they start to separate you, even in schools kids compare the toys and the parents and they separate you in the beginning through everything you can absorb before your 18 and after that society does the rest… society will treat you kindly like you deserver in a labyrinth jungle that no one understand completely… and those differences make your traits again because if you live good your will have round traits or more well defined, if you live bad you rot, you have a sad face, you have an aspect of someone used and abused… the money system doesn’t work, it is a virtual intermediary that blocks you from having what you want, you don’t need money for nothing, it is only a way to block people from attaining their dreams and someone collecting the gains from who uses money… crimes are created, teached, propagated and forced to believe through acts of despair… any dimension of any integrity of people can show that people live through happiness and comprehension and stability and then integrity… The technology is made in a way even the scientists think this is the best we can have, but there has also to be many strength to defy and go against every other scientist current… all humanity is confused and they naturally react like that because they are reacting not actually acting, if you know what i mean?
    There is going back, going back to point of origin is real, you are earthians, you have nature close to you and nature close to you.. you just have been cheated upon for a thousand years with all those education systems… Why can’t you have your own sciences, natures, educations and ways of thinking and each one of you? nature nature nature is your most truly gift because without nature you will have no nature and be no nature…

    • This will never stand. The reason we film police should have no reguard in our right to do so. When they wear that uniform, they are working on behalf of the community and therefore give up their personal rights and freedoms of privacy. WE are the people paying their paycheck and if WE want to film them when they are on the job, then WE should be aloud to. Suggesting that we are only aloud to film if we expect something bad to happen is saying that we must be biased to allow our right to film or that they must have already given us reasonable cause to do so of which were not aloud to film. What about cops with cameras during a routine traffic stop? Is that not the same thing? You don’t KNOW that the person being ticketed will do something bad, but the cameras are rolling anyway. Moreover, any public street or sidewalk is a legal location to pull out a camera and film any and everything that occurs from those locations. I doubt they were protesting inside of a building, or on private property. And this law would affect the entire news industry as well as photographers, and film makers. This law would have to apply to everyone or it should apply to no one. No one gets a free pass just becuase they are part of a government agency. Those are the people who need to be watched the most and they are not supposed to be in the interest of themselves, but for the people…

      I tend to write come lengthy posts myself… but this last comment by David Costa was FAR too long. When I skimmed it; it was clear that you undoubtedly strayed from the topic.

  6. It cannot stand. Filming silently says “we are watching you and will hold you accountable.” Money is speech to these idiots, but this is not?

  7. i’m going to go with – if we can’t film them, watch out for them, etc – they can’t observe us either. We’d all be a lot safer if cops didn’t interfere with our lives anyway.

    i recently had it pointed out that police pretty much started out in the 1800s, and they were PRIVATE muscle, bought and controlled by the industrialist bad guy rich guys to control their workers and protect them from the immigrant invasion as Irish, Catholics and other horrors (sarcasm, folks) came to the US to fill their Industrial Revolution jobs.

    The police were using clubs, rifles, pistols and machine guns to kill people who simply needed to make enough money from their jobs to survive. In Colorado they were supposedly among Rockefeller’s thugs who massacred a tent village that was striking his coal mine for decent wages. Men, women, and children killed to intimidate workers to go back and work. (dammut – losing money here! JDR)

    i don’t need police to make sure i don’t get in trouble when i buy groceries, or hit school, or…. We don’t need constant authoritarian oversight in every aspect of our lives. Phuck the govt, phukk the rich even more because they cause all the significant problems on this entire planet that we can do anything about – and phunk their strong-arm enforcement bullshitters the cops.

    Thanks to the good ones out there who truly are willing to help. Sorry your “compatriots” are not worth the oxygen they waste.


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