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The Justice Department filed a statement of interest Friday in the case of a journalist arrested in 2011 for filming police officers in Montgomery County, Maryland. According to Politico, the Department affirmed the right of individuals to record police under the First Amendment.

The Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department filed a statement in Maryland federal court that argued not only that individuals have a First Amendment right to record police officers doing their duties in public, but that those recordings are protected from seizure without a warrant or due process under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments.

The Department urged the court to uphold these rights and declined a motion to dismiss by Montgomery County in the case Garcia v. Montgomery County.

“The United States is concerned that discretionary charges, such as disorderly conduct, loitering, disturbing the peace and resisting arrest, are all too easily used to curtail expressive conduct or retaliate against individuals for exercising their First Amendment rights. … Core First Amendment conduct, such as recording a police officer performing duties on a public street, cannot be the sole basis for such charges,” the statement said.



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