Robert Bastille, who owns the news website HyannisNews.com, recently had a confrontation with a female police officer in Barnstable, Massachusetts.
Bastille claims the police officer threatened to smash his camera into his face, notes PhotographyIsNotaCrime.com.
The alleged threat does not appear on the video (below) that Bastille shot, but the officer does tell him several times that he is not allowed to film and photograph her.
However, in the case of Glik v. Cunniffe, a U.S. Appeals Court ruled that a private citizen does have the right to record video and audio of police in a public place, as long as he or she is not interfering with police work.
The video begins with the female officer walking away from Bastille, who yells to her: “You’re going to hit me? I”m sorry, you’re going to threaten me, officer?”
“Are you trying to cause a scene right now? Because I’ll arrest you for disorderly instead,” the officer responds.
Bastille follows the officer down the street, where she calls for back-up and tells Bastille several times, “Stop taking my photograph.”
Later, the police officer asks, “Are you recording right now?
“I am videotaping, which is within my Constitutional rights,” says Bastille, but the officer comes back with: “It most certainly is not."
Bastille wrote about the rest of the confrontation, which was not recorded, on HyannisNews.com:
Lieutenant Micheal Clark arrived and removed the arresting/detaining officer from the scene. He took her around the corner of the building where they had a lengthy conversation.
My father arrived to check on me and told the two backup officers that in almost 50 years I had never ever been in trouble with the law… not once. My father was as confused and worried as I was about the way things were going.
Bottom line: The officer returned to the scene and with a tear in her eyes asked me if I was “happy.” I took that to mean she didn’t get the news she wanted. She was hoping she could charge me with felony wiretapping or something else.