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Civilian Recordings of the Police—Rights and Limitations

Civilian Recordings of the Police—Rights and Limitations

  • Matt Dolan
    Attorney & Director, Dolan Consulting Group, NC
  • Webinar, N/A
  • Jun 17, 2024
Course Length:
  • 2-hour
Registration Fee:
    • $125.00 for the first attendee – $75.00 per each additional attendee

The widespread recording and dissemination of police actions have led to a level of scrutiny that is unparalleled in the history of the law enforcement profession. This is particularly relevant to officers in light of the widespread protests and civil unrest that have unfolded across the country and are likely to continue in the months ahead.

While the First Amendment protects the right to record police actions in many instances, this right is not absolute. Rather, it is subject to legal restrictions based on the time, place, and manner of the recordings. Arresting an individual while they are recording the police is not the same thing as arresting the individual because they are recording the police. This distinction is vitally important and officers should be equipped to articulate the difference in arresting those who are impeding lawful police operations or committing other crimes unrelated to the fact that they are recording the police.

In this webinar, Attorney Matt Dolan will discuss the legal liability issues related to civilian recordings of law enforcement officers and what agencies can do to prepare their officers to perform their duties effectively while also respecting civilians’ lawful right to record in particular circumstances.

Topics discussed will include:

  • Understanding ad articulating the legal limits on civilians’ right to record—reasonable time, place and manner restrictions
  • Taking the cell phone out of the equation in making detention and arrest decisions
  • Getting back to basics—state laws re: unlawful assembly, trespassing and hindering and opposing
  • Understanding the conditions under which seizing phones as evidence is legally justifiable


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