Can You Videotape Police Officers in Florida?
Incidents involving police brutality have become all too common today in Florida, and throughout the rest of the country. Citizens are learning more and more every day just how difficult it is to hold law enforcement accountable for their actions. Videotaped evidence is often at the center of these cases, but not all officers are equipped with body cams and even when they are, they do not always turn them on when apprehending a suspect. This has led many people to question if they can videotape the actions of police when they are being questioned for a suspected DUI or other crime. So, what are the laws on videotaping law enforcement in Florida?
Wiretapping Laws in Florida
Recording anyone using any type of device in Florida is known as wiretapping. Under Florida law, before recording someone, you must obtain their consent. Fortunately, the law specifically states that this does not apply to police officers. So, while you can openly videotape an officer, you do not need their express permission to do so.
You Cannot Face Arrest for Filming a Police Officer
It is important to understand what is considered an unlawful arrest in Florida when filming a police officer. You should never secretly record a police officer, but instead do it openly and in a manner that lets them know they are being recorded. You should also never threaten a police officer at any time, particularly when filming, and you should also refrain from trying to physically interfere while they are trying to perform their duty.
Even when you abide by the law, a police officer may feel as though you are challenging them and their authority. They may try to take your recording device from you, and they may even attempt to arrest you. When law enforcement takes any of these actions, you should inform them that you are aware of your rights, and that you know videotaping police officers is legal under Florida law.
How to Videotape a Police Officer
Even though you do have the legal right to film a police officer in Florida, there are ways to do it, and ways not to do it. Some tips to follow if you want to videotape law enforcement are as follows:
- Keep a safe distance and do not get too close to a police officer that is carrying out their duty.
- Although you should videotape the officer openly, never shove a recording device directly in their face.
- Do not make any sudden movements, as an officer can easily misinterpret these actions.
Even when following these tips, a police officer may still try to arrest you. Do not resist arrest, but contact a Florida civil rights attorney as soon as possible.
Our Florida Civil Rights Lawyers can Help
If you have been the victim of police brutality or wrongful arrest, our Orlando civil rights lawyers at O’Mara Law Group can help. We will always stand up for your rights and give you the best chance of a successful outcome. Call us today at (407) 634-6604 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys.