Should It Be Legal To Film On-Duty Police Officers?

The City of Boston is paying Simon Glik $170,000 to settle a civil lawsuit resulting from his arrest on Boston Common in 2007 for filming police officers. What's your take?

Recent law school graduate Simon Glik was walking across Boston Common in 2007 when he saw Boston police officers forcefully arresting a man.  He pulled out his cell phone to videotape the incident, (part of which is viewable in the Youtube video connected to this article) and shortly afterwards found himself in handcuffs, arrested for felony illegal wiretapping and disturbing the peace.

He fought the criminal charges and they were dismissed four months later, according to the ACLU, but he then filed a civil rights suit with the city.  Per the ACLU, the suit argued that the City of Boston "is responsible for not adequately training, supervising, and disciplining officers who arrest people under the wiretap statute for openly recording the police carrying out their duties in public."  

Yesterday a verdict was reached.  According to an article on WBUR, the City of Boston will pay $170,000 to Simon Glik "for damages and legal fees."  

What kind of damages did he incur?  The ACLU also mentions that, at the time of the arrest, "Glik was a recent graduate of New England School of Law who had finished a clerkship with the Probate and Family Court. He was looking for a permanent job as an attorney. Instead, for four months, he became a criminal defendant facing a felony charge."   

Should Simon Glik have been arrested, or was he just exercising his First Amendment rights?  Should the City Of Boston have to pay him damages?  Vote in our poll and leave a comment with your opinion.  

Editorial note: this article is shared between the Back Bay and Beacon Hill Patch.com sites.  

SM_bos March 30, 2012 at 01:16 AM
95% of the time I think suits against the city are frivolous, or for too much money (that taxpayers shell out). This settlement is not an outrageous amount, and the city, and the officers, really are just plain wrong (IMHO) as long as the person filming does not physically interfere with the police action.


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