Judge Upholds Right To Record Police In Ferguson

Above photo: Ferguson residents are given cameras and trained in how to film interactions with police. From GoFundMe.com.

A federal judge in Missouri issued three court orders on Friday upholding the rights of the public to record and document law enforcement officers on duty, after several violations of a previous agreement between the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the County of St. Louis and the City of Ferguson.

The announcement comes ahead of a grand jury decision on whether to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in August.

District Judge John A. Ross granted three court orders against the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the County of St. Louis and the City of Ferguson in response to a preliminary injunction by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The initial agreement, signed in August, read, “Parties acknowledge and agree that the media and members of the public have a right to record public events without abridgement unless it obstructs the activity or threatens the safety of others, or physically interferes with the ability of law enforcement officers to perform their duties.”

The ACLU of Missouri hailed the orders in a statement on Friday.

“We are pleased that there are court orders requiring the police to respect the First Amendment rights of journalists,” said Tony Rothert, the group’s legal director. “With court orders in place, immediate recourse will be available if the freedom of the press is violated.”