First Amendment Right to Receive Information and Ideas Justifies Citizens' Videotaping of the Police
10 U. St. Thomas J.L. & Pub. Pol'y 89 (2016)
5 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2018
Date Written: 2016
Several courts have declared that members of the public have a First Amendment-protected right to film or videotape the police. At least one legal commentator has posited that this right falls within three of the five textually-based freedoms of the First Amendment - the Speech, Press, and Petition Clauses. This right to receive information and ideas is a "corollary" of the right to speak that triggers the First Amendment interests of not only speakers, but also audiences. This right to receive information and ideas applies in the context of citizens recording the police. The public has a right to know how law enforcement officials treat citizens in encounters. This essay examines the history and dimension of the First Amendment right to receive information and ideas, a concept that has appeared in many different strands of First Amendment law. The essay also explains that the public should have a First Amendment right to receive information about the performance (or lack thereof) of law enforcement officials.
Keywords: Videotape, police, First Amendment, U.S. Constitution, law enforcement, police
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