01/16/2013

ACLU lawsuit argues right to videotape police

The American Civil Liberties Union alleges that Philadelphia police have a pattern of wrongfully arresting people who videotape officers in public

Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — The American Civil Liberties Union alleges that Philadelphia police have a pattern of wrongfully arresting people who videotape officers in public.

The group filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday on behalf of a college student who used his cellphone to document police arresting several teens downtown.

Temple University student Chris Montgomery was charged with disorderly conduct after recording the arrests in 2011. The complaint says police detained him and erased the video from his phone.

ACLU attorney Mary Catherine Roper says the lawsuit seeks to confirm the public's First Amendment right to record law enforcement officers.

She says it's the first of several complaints the ACLU plans to file alleging wrongful arrests.

A police spokeswoman says the department doesn't comment on pending litigation.

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