A cop in Carbondale, Illinois, recently told a man who was filming him that it is "now illegal to record police officers in public."
Matt Fedora filmed the officer (video below) while he confronting him for allegedly sitting and sleeping in his police cruiser for three hours in a church parking lot.
Fedora posted the video on Facebook on Jan. 16.
According to TheSouthern.com, which posted the video on YouTube, the Carbondale Police Department has not identified the police officer in the video because of an internal investigation.
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"The eavesdropping of an oral conversation or an electronic communication of any law enforcement officer, State’s Attorney, Assistant State’s Attorney, the Attorney General, Assistant Attorney General, or a judge, while in the performance of his or her official duties, if not authorized by this Article or proper court order, is a Class 3 felony, and for a second or subsequent offenses, is a Class 2 felony."
Numerous federal courts, and the Illinois Supreme Court, in March 2014, have ruled that it is legal to film police officers in public. Apparently, the new law is so confusing even Carbondale Interim Police Chief Jeff Grubbs is seeking legal counsel.
“In this day and age, we all recognize there are devices that video record encounters of private citizens and police and their interactions with each other. That’s common and I don’t believe it to be in violation of the law when done in a public place,” Grubbs told TheSouthern.com. “Where the act isn’t clear is when we get into recordings that include oral communication, and that’s why we’re seeking a legal opinion.”