Police Body-Worn Cameras (BWCs)

AELE’s Evidence Preservation Information Center (EPIC)

Compiled by the AELE legal staff

  • Model & Selected Specimen Policies

  • Reports & Studies

  • Legislation & Interpretations

  • General Litigation & Summaries

  • Privacy Issues

  • FOI Requests & Litigation

  • Policy & Training

  • Scholarly & Law Review Articles

  • Disciplinary Actions

  • Duty to Bargain Deployment

  • Eavesdropping Laws

  • Liability for Erasure or Distruction of Videos

  • Selected Links

  • Send Updates or Report Broken Links


 Model and Selected Specimen Policies (alpha)

1.            ACLU: Model Act for Regulating the Use of Wearable Body Cameras (2015)

2.            Bureau of Justice Assistance Policy and Implementation Checklist (2015)

3.            Chicago Police Body Worn Camera Pilot Program (2015)

4.            IACP Model Policy: Body-Worn Cameras (Apr. 2014).  

5.            International Municipal Lawyers Association: Model Act for Regulating the Use of Wearable Body Cameras by Law Enforcement (2015)

6.            Kentucky League of Cities Policy: Body Worn Video Recording (BWV), Legal & Liability Risk Management Institute (Dec. 2014) 

7.            LAPD: Body Worn Video Procedures (approved 4-2015)

8.            LRIS: Body-Worn Cameras Policy, Labor Relations Information System (2014)

9.            Maryland Commission Re the Implementation and Use of Body Cameras by LEOs (2015)

10.      Microsoft Cloud BWC Policy Guide (2015)

11.      New Jersey statewide ECW guidelines (2016).

12.        Rialto, CA: Police Dept. Policy 451, Body Worn Video Systems; also see the Police Foundation report.

13.        San Diego Police Procedure: Body Worn Cameras (2014)

14.        Seattle Police 16.091 - Body-Worn Video Pilot Program (2014)

15.        U.K. Body Worn Video Policy Template


Reports & Studies (alpha)

1.         ACLU - Illinois: Suggested Guidelines on Use of Body Cameras by Police (Sep. 2014)

2.         ACLU - National: Police Body-Mounted Cameras: With Right Policies in Place, a Win for All, by Jay Stanley, American Civil Liberties Union Senior Policy Analyst (Oct. 2013)\

3.        ACLU - National: Strengthening CBP with the Use of Body-Worn Cameras (Feb. 2015)   

4.        ACLU - National: Complaint to the DoJ Bureau of Justice Assistance regarding LAPD Body-Worn Camera Funding (Sep. 2015)

5.         ASU School of Criminology: Phoenix Police Body-Worn Camera Project (2014)

6.         BJA: Body-Worn Camera Toolkit by ASU (2015)

7.         CBP: BWC Feasibility Study (Aug. 2015)

8.         COPS: The Use of Body-Worn Cameras by Law Enforcement, Testimony of the Constitution Project Policy Counsel Madhuri Grewal, The President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, Listening Session on Technology and Social Media (Jan. 31, 2015)

9.         DHS: Body-Worn Video Cameras for Law Enforcement Assessment Report, U.S. Dept. of  Homeland Security, Science and Technology Directorate, prepared by the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic  (Apr. 2015)

10.     DHS: Body Worn Camera Systems for Tactical Operations – Technical Report (Oct. 2013)

11.     IACP: The Impact of Video Evidence on Modern Policing, Research and Best Practices from the IACP Study on In-Car Cameras  (2003)

12.     Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights: Police BWCs - A Policy Scorecard (Nov. 2015)

13.     NCSC: BWCs and the Courts, National Center for State Courts (2016)

14.     NIJ: Research on Body-Worn Cameras and Law Enforcement  (2014 and updated)

15.     NIJ: Technology: Body-Worn Cameras for Criminal Justice: Market Survey, National Institute of Justice (Mar. 2014)

16.     NIJ: A Primer on Body Worn Cameras for Law Enforcement, National Institute of Justice (Sep. 2012)

17.     NYPD Inspector General Report: Body-Worn Cameras in NYC: An Assessment of NYPD's Pilot Program and Recommendations to Promote Accountability (Jul. 30, 2015)

18.     ODS Consulting:  Body Worn Video Projects in Paisley and Aberdeen (Jul. 2011, UK)

19.     OJP: Police Officer Body-Worn Cameras: Assessing the Evidence, by Michael D. White, Ph.D., DoJ Office of Justice Programs Diagnostic Center (2014)

20.    PERF: Implementing a Body-Worn Camera Program: Recommendations and Lessons Learned, COPS – Police Executive Research Forum (2014)

21.     Police Foundation: Field Experiment on the Effect of Body Worn Cameras on Police Use-of-Force (2013)

22.     Police Magazine Special Report: Body-Worn Cameras (Jul. 2015)

23.     Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press Interactive Online Map of Police Body Camera Laws and Policies

24.     UK College of Policing: The Essex Body Worn Video Trial (2014)

25.     Univ. of Portsmouth (UK), Evaluation of Hampshire Constabulary BWCs (Feb. 2015)

26.     Univ. of So. Florida: Evaluating the Impact of Police BWCs: The Orlando Police Experience (Oct. 2015)


Legislation & Interpretations

1.   Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press Interactive Online Map of Police Body Camera Laws and Policies (2015)

2.   International Municipal Lawyers Association: Model Act for Regulating the Use of Wearable Body Cameras by Law Enforcement (2015)

3.   Illinois Public Act 099-0352 codifies BWC procedures, see Article 10 (Aug. 2015)

4.   Florida's law provides that a BWC recording is confidential and exempt from public records requirements under certain circumstances; it requires a law enforcement agency to retain body camera recordings for a specified period. SB 248 (Jul. 1, 2015)

5.   Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, P.L. 21, Act No. 9 amended the state’s eavesdropping law to allow law enforcement BWCs (Feb. 4, 2014)

6.   South Carolina added Sec, 23-1-240 to require all state and local law enforcement officers to implement the use of body-worn cameras pursuant to guidelines established by the Law Enforcement Training Council (Jun. 4, 2015)

7.   Texas enacted SB158. It established a statewide policy on the use of BWCs. Law enforcement agencies can sign agreements with a state agency to store recorded video.  (Jun. 19, 2015)

8.   Washington State Attorney General’s Opinion No. 2014-8: Video and Audio Recording of Communications Between Citizens and Law Enforcement Officers Using Body Cameras Attached to Police Uniforms (Nov. 24, 2014)  


General Litigation & Summaries  (chronological)

1.          Summary: Legal Issues Surrounding the Use of Body Cameras (BJA website); thorough but undated and unsigned. It references Washington state law,

2.          Consent decree: “The United States has not required that all PPB officers wear body cameras, but the Agreement does not prohibit the City from using body cameras. ... If the City utilizes body cameras, the City must carefully govern their use to protect the rights of subjects and bystanders, e.g., providing Miranda warnings when appropriate and respecting reasonable expectations of privacy.” U.S. v. City of Portland, #3:12-cv-02265, PACER Doc. 86 Page 3 (D. Ore. Aug. 29, 2014). 

3.          Evidence:  “We have reviewed the videos. We agree with the district court that they do not clearly reveal the officers’ version of events to be correct.” Chacon v. Copeland, 577 Fed. Appx. 355 (5th Cir. Aug. 11, 2014).

4.          Stop & frisk: A federal judge held that the City of New York violated the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments by acting with deliberate indifference towards the NYPD’s practice of unconstitutional stops and unconstitutional frisks and by adopting a policy of “indirect racial profiling” that targeted racially defined groups for “stops-and-frisks.” Judge Scheindlin ordered an array of injunctive remedies, including the institution of a program requiring some officers to wear cameras on their persons. Floyd v. City of New York, #08-cv-1034 & 12-cv-2274, 959 F.Supp.2d 668 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 12, 2013).

5.          Loss of video archive: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the loss of potentially exculpatory evidence does not violate due process absent a showing of bad faith. Arizona v. Youngblood, #86-1904, 488 U.S. 51 (1988).  At least two states have not followed the ruling.


Privacy Issues (chronological)

     •  AELE Comment: While many citizens welcome the purchase of police body cams, some fear that their homes, license plates, and faces will be subjected to FOIA requests, and that the incident will be uploaded to a publicly accessible video website such as YouTube ™. Frequently the event involves a juvenile.  Who will bear the cost of blurring faces and other identifying information?

1.      Civil Rights Principles on Body Worn Cameras, signed by a coalition of privacy advocates (May 2015)

2.      Guidance for the Use of Body-Worn Cameras by Canadian Law Enforcement Authorities, Privacy Commissioner of Canada (Feb. 2015) 

3.      Body Worn Cameras, FOP web presentation on officer privacy  (2014).  

4.      Consent decree: “The United States has not required that all PPB officers wear body cameras, but the Agreement does not prohibit the City from using body cameras. ... If the City utilizes body cameras, the City must carefully govern their use to protect the rights of subjects and bystanders, e.g., providing Miranda warnings when appropriate and respecting reasonable expectations of privacy.” U.S. v. City of Portland, #3:12-cv-02265 (D. Ore. Aug. 29, 2014). 

5.      A three-judge appellate panel concluded that a complaint stated a cause of action against two CHP officers for the tort of invasion of privacy based on the public disclosure of private facts (sending gruesome photos of a fatal accident). The elements of such a claim are: (1) public disclosure (2) of a private fact (3) which would be offensive and objectionable to the reasonable person, and (4) which is not of legitimate concern. Catsouras v. Calif. Highway Patrol, #G039916, 181 Cal.App.4th 856, 104 Cal.Rptr.3d 352, 2010 Cal. App. Lexis 113; review denied, #S180881, 2010 Cal. Lexis 3456.

6.      A Federal court dismissed a privacy lawsuit filed by a federal employee, who claimed a back injury, and was videotaped by contract investigators while lifting heavy boxes into his pickup truck. Because the taping occurred while outdoors and adjacent to a public road, the employee lacked a reasonable expectation of privacy. Ryan v. Whitehurst, #SA-07-CA-723, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 36432, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 43690 (W.D. Tex.).

7.      In an action brought by VA hospital police officers because of management's surreptitious video surveillance of their break room, a federal court held that the officers lacked a valid claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act. However, although management had a legitimate interest in eradicating sexual discrimination in the workplace, there was insufficient evidence in the record to warrant an encroachment into the officers' privacy via surveillance video. Rosario v. U.S.A., #Civ-06-1517, 538 F. Supp. 2d 480,2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 21297 (D.P.R.).

8.      A detective lacked qualified immunity from an officers' claim that he violated Fourth Amendment by installing a warrantless video-surveillance system in the locker room, in response to reported theft. Officers did not receive notice about system; the locker room was used for private activities and was not open to public. Bernhard v. City of Ontario, #06-55736, 270 Fed.Appx. 518, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 6404 (Unpub. 9th Cir.).

9.      An arbitrator held that because the bargaining agreement prohibited electronic performance monitoring of employees, videocameras could not be installed in work areas for security purposes, even if they lacked audio capabilities. Berkley School Dist. and Educ. Assn., 122 LA (BNA) 356 (Daniel, 2005).

10. Management's placement of a concealed video-only camera in an unlocked computer room, which was shared by two schoolteachers, was not a privacy violation. Crist v. Alpine Union Sch. Dist., #D044775, 2005 Cal. App. Unpub. Lexis 8699 (2005).

11. An appeals court in Ohio upheld the covert video surveillance of an employee's break room. Brannen v. Bd. of Educ., #CA2000-11-098, 2001 Ohio App. Lexis 3165, 17 IER Cases (BNA) 1405 (Unpub. 2001).\

12. An en banc federal appeals court held that even if a bargaining agreement expressly authorizes surveillance which was illegal under state law, it would be void and unenforceable under federal labor law. Federal bargaining laws cannot not permit employers and unions to agree to violate state criminal laws. Cramer v. Consolidated Freightways, #98-55657, 2001 U.S. App. Lexis 13385, 255 F.3d 683 (9th Cir. en banc).

13. Police officers did not need a warrant to secretly videotape a criminal suspect at work. His work station was in view of coworkers and the public. Cowles v. State, #S-8831, 23 P.3d 1168, 2001 Alas. Lexis 67 (Alaska, 2001).

14. N.H. upheld the use of a concealed videocamera in the nonprivate areas of worksites in public buildings. State v. McLellan, #98239, 744 A.2d 611, 1999 N.H. Lexis 162.  

15. California courts upheld a $634,000 verdict for secretly videotaping fellow employees in the workplace, even though coworkers had a limited expectation of privacy. Sanders v. ABC, 20 Cal.4th 907, 978 P.2d 67, 1999 Cal. Lexis 3900, 15 IER Cases (BNA) 385; on remand (Unpub. Cal.App., 2d Dist.).

16. A videotape of unlawful behavior in the workplace was allowed into evidence in a criminal case, because the camera was not concealed. U.S. v. O'Reilly, #CR-91-678, 1992 U.S. Dist. Lexis 8187, 7 IER Cases (BNA) 665 (E.D. Pa. 1992). 

17. A Washington appeals court reversed a $70,000 verdict awarded to an ex-employee pension recipient. City videotaped a disabled pensioner's activities and was sued for invasion of privacy and emotional distress. Jeffers v. City of Seattle, #5967-1, 23 Wn. App. 301, 597 P.2d 899 (1979).

18. California law clearly provides that surviving family members have no right of privacy in the context of written media discussing, or pictorial media portraying, the life of a decedent. Any cause of action for invasion of privacy in that context belonged to the decedent and expired along with him or her. Flynn v. Higham, #168301, 149 Cal.App.3d 677 (1983).

19. Photographing employees at work is not an invasion of privacy. Truxes v. Kenco, #9958, 80 S.D. 104, 119 N.W.2d 914 (1963).


Freedom of Information Requests & Litigation

1.      North Dakota’s open records law exempts images taken by a law enforcement officer or a firefighter with a body camera which was taken in a private place. H.B. 1264 amending code 44-04-18.7.

2.      The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press appealed a denial by the Metropolitan Police of the District of Columbia for video footage from the first two days its officers began wearing body cams as part of a six-month pilot program.

3.      New Jersey's “ongoing investigation exception” does not exempt police video recordings from a public records law. Paff v. Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, #OCN-L-1645-14, 2014 WL 5139407 (N.J. Super. Ct. Law Div.).

4.       Florida's law provides that a BWC recording is confidential and exempt from public records requirements under certain circumstances; it requires a law enforcement agency to retain body camera recordings for a specified period. SB 248 (Jul. 1, 2015)


Policy & Training

1.     BWC Policy Development, Part 3, J. Peters et al,, Police & Security News (Jan 2016)

2.     Body Worn Cameras – Legal Issues, IACP-LOS PowerPoint by Eric Daigle (Oct. 2015)

3.     Body Worn Cameras – Policy and Issues to Consider, IACP-LOS PowerPoint by Lisa Judge (Oct. 2015)

4.     Evaluating the Impact of Officer Worn Body Cameras, Bureau of Justice Assistance, Phoenix Police (Dec. 2014)

5.     Body Worn Cameras: Audio Podcast (21 min.) and PowerPoint presentation from the 9th Annual IPICD conference (Nov. 2014)

6.     Seattle Police Dept. Body Worn Cameras PowerPoint (Nov. 2014)

7.     Wearing a Badge and a Video Camera, IACP-LOS PowerPoint, by Eric Daigle (Oct. 2014)  

8.     10 Limitations of Body Cams You Need to Know for Your Protection, Force Science Institute (2014)

9.     Body Worn Cameras, Privacy, Professionalism, and Protection – FOP web presentation. (2014)

10. Guidance for the Police Use of Body-Worn Video Devices (UK Home Office, 2007)

11. Website: Cameras for Cops. Conducts both web-based and on-site BWC training


 Scholarly & Law Review Articles (chronological)

1.     Hands up, Don't Shoot: Police Misconduct and the Need for Body Cameras, by J. S. Nunes, 67 Fla. L. Rev. 1811 (2015). Abstract.

2.     Police-Worn Body Cameras: Balancing Privacy and Accountability through State and Police Department Action, by K. Kampfe, 76 Ohio St. L.J. 1153 (2015). Abstract.

3.     BWC Policy Development, Part 3, J. Peters et al,, Police & Security News (Jan 2016)

4.     Police-Worn Body Cameras: Balancing Privacy and Accountability Through State and Police Department Action, by Karson Kampfe, 76 Ohio St. L.J. 1153 (Dec. 2015) Info

5.       The Basics of Selecting and Issuing BWCs, Part 2, J. Peters et al,, Police & Security News (Nov. 2015)

6.       BWCs: Rebuilding Public Trust Part 1, J. Peters et al,, Police & Security News (Sep. 2015)

7.       BWCs Improve Law Enforcement Officer Report Writing Accuracy, Dawes, et al., 4 (6) Journal of Law Enforcement (Aug. 2015)

8.       Questions, but Few Answers, Surround Police BWCs, by T. Simon, The Champion (May 2015) Abstract

9.       Efficacy of Police Body Cameras for Evidentiary Purposes: Fact or Fallacy?  The Police Chief (May 2015)

10.   Body-Worn Cameras: Plan Before Your Office Buys In, Sheriff, Natl. Sheriffs Assn. (May/Jun 2015)

11.   Development in the Law Policing - Chapter Four: Considering Police Body Cameras, 128 Harv. L. Rev. 1794 (Apr. 2015)

12.   Body Worn Cameras: No. Car. Conf. of Dist. Attys. (Apr. 2015)

13.   Showing Incident Video to Police Officers Under Investigation, by Doug LePard, The Police Chief (Mar. 2015)

14.   Police Body-Worn Cameras: An Overview, by Larry E. Capps, The Police Chief (Feb. 2015)

15.   Police Body-Worn Cameras, by Alexandra Mateescu, et al., Data & Society Research Institute (Feb. 2015)

16.   Are You Recording This?: Enforcement of Police Videotaping, by Martina Kitzmueller, 47 (1) Conn. L. Rev. 167-196 (Nov. 2014) 

17.   The Effect of Police Body-Worn Cameras on Use of Force and Citizens’ Complaints Against the Police: A Randomized Controlled Trial, by Ariel, Farrar, & Sutherland, University of Cambridge Institute of Criminology, Journal of Quantitative Criminology (Nov. 2014)

18.   Cops and Cameras: Officer Perceptions of the Use of Body-Worn Cameras in Law Enforcement, by Jennings, Fridell, and Lynch, Journal of Criminal Justice (Oct. 2014); abstract

19.   Can Body Worn Cameras Serve as a Deterrent to Police Misconduct? by Nathan James, DoJ CRS (Aug. 2014)

20.   On Officer Video Cameras, Ariz. St. Univ. Master’s Thesis by Allyson Roy (Apr. 2014)

21.   Outsourcing the Evidence Room: Moving Digital Evidence to the Cloud, by Vern Sallee, The Police Chief (Apr. 2014). 

22.   Efficacy of Police Body Cameras for Evidentiary Purposes: Fact or Fallacy? by LTC Craig Geis (Ret.) & David Blake  (2014)

23.   Police Foundation: Self Awareness to Being Watched and Socially Desirable Behavior: A Field Experiment on the Effect of Body Worn Cameras on Police Use of Force (2014) 

24.   Operation Candid Camera: Rialto Police Dept.’s Body-Worn Camera Experiment, by Chief William Farrar, The Police Chief (Jan. 2014).

25.   The Future is Here: How Police Officers’ Videos Protect Officers and Departments, by Craig Ferrell, The Police Chief (Oct. 2013)

26.   Cloud Computing in Law Enforcement: Survey Results and Guiding Principles, by David J. Roberts, The Police Chief (Mar. 2013)

27.   Sousveillance and the Social Implications of Point of View Technologies in the Law Enforcement Sector, by Katina Michael, University of Wollongong & M.G. Michael, IEEE Technology and Society Magazine, Sydney, NSW, Australia (2012); abstract

28.   The Camera Versus the Human Eye, by Roger Cicala (Nov. 2012)

29.   The Future is Near: Getting Ahead of the Challenges of Body-Worn Video, by Joe Fiumara, The Police Chief (Sep. 2012)

30.   The Use of Personally-Owned Mobile Phone Cameras and Pocket Video Cameras by Public Safety Personnel, by Wayne W. Schmidt, 2012 (2) AELE Mo. L. J. 501 (Feb. 2012)

31.   Videotaping and Police Behavior, by Stephen Curran & Jamaal Thomas, 2011 (6) AELE Mo. L. J. 501 (Jun. 2011)

32.    On Using High-Definition Body Worn Cameras for Face Recognition from a Distance, by Al-Obaydy & Sellahewa, 6583 Lecture Notes in Computer Science (Springer) 193-204 (2011); abstract

33.    Picture This: Body Worn Video Devices by Police, by David A. Harris, Univ. of Pittsburgh School of Law, 43 Texas Tech Law Review 357-371 (2010)  

34.   Officer Privacy and a Citizen’s Right to Video Record Police Activity, by Wayne W. Schmidt, 2009 (5) AELE Mo. L. J. 201

35.   How Accountability Based Policing Can Reinforce or Replace the Fourth Amendment Exclusionary Rule, by David Harris, 7 Ohio State J. of Crim. Law, U. of Pittsburgh Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2009-17 (May 2009); abstract

36.   Orwell’s Vision: Video and the Future of Civil Rights Enforcement, by Howard M. Wasserman, 68 Md. L. Rev. 600 (2008); abstract.

37.   Old Blood, Bad Blood, and Youngblood: Due Process, Lost Evidence and the Limits of Bad Faith, by Norman Bay, 86 (2) Washington Univ. L. Rev. 241-311 (2008)

38.   Early Experiences of Visual Memory Prosthesis for Supporting Episodic Memory, by Jyrki Hoisko, 15 (2) Intern. J. of Human-Computer Interaction (Taylor & Francis) 209-230 (2003); abstract 

39.   Sousveillance: Inventing and Using Wearable Computing Devices for Data Collection in Surveillance Environments, by Steve Mann, et al., 1 (3) Surveillance & Society 331-355 (2003}

40.   Should Lost Evidence Mean a Lost Chance to Prosecute: State Rejections of the United States Supreme Court Decision in Arizona v. Youngblood; by Daniel R. Dinger, 27 Am. J. Crim. L. 329 (1999); abstract

41.   Fourteenth Amendment - Police Failure to Preserve Evidence and Erosion of the Due Process Right to a Fair Trial, by Sarah Bernstein, 80 (4) J. of Crim. L. & Criminology 1256-1280 (1990)


Disciplinary Actions

This section reports on officer discipline for not activating a camera in violation of agency policy.

1.      News article Dec 15, 2014: In a two-year period, Oakland police officers were disciplined 24 times for failing to turn on body-worn cameras.

•  Send cases or arbitration awards to aele@aol.com


Duty to Bargain Deployment

This section reports on legal actions to compel mandatory collective bargaining of BWC deployments.

1.  News article Jan 19, 2016: The State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers says its collective bargaining agreement requires union sign-off on BWC technology before it can be used.  A formal complaint was filed with the state’s Labor Relations Board.

2. County directed to negotiate with police union over aspects of BWC policy. Montgomery County, Maryland and Fraternal Order of Police, Montgomery County Lodge No. 35, Prohibited Practice Charge, Before the Permanent Umpire for the Montgomery County Police Labor Relations Law. (Jan. 29, 2016).

3. County was not shown to have willfully engage in a prohibited practice by implementing BWC policy without union consent. State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers and Bernard Carvalho, Mayor, County of Kauai, et. al., Case #CE-12-875, Decision #481, State of Hawaii, Hawaii Labor Relations Board (June 3, 2016).


4, Arbitrator agrees with the union that police management violated the collective bargaining agreement when it unilaterally implemented a body-worn camera program.  Oklahoma City and FOP L-123, FMCS #16-50120-6 (Lumbley, June  14, 2016).

5. BWC policy was a mandatory subject for bargaining under a police union contract. Denver Police Protective Assoc. v. City and County of Denver, Colo., #15CV33862, District Court, City and County of Denver, Colo. (Dec. 19, 2016).

•  Send cases, PERB rulings or arbitration awards to aele@aol.com


Eavesdropping Laws (chronological)

1.      Although Florida statutes require consent to audio record a conversation, citizens do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy while talking to a police officer during a traffic stop.  The court refused to suppress the recording. State v. Bross, #05-2014-TR-27348, Brevard County Court (2015).

2.       An Illinois eavesdropping statute violated the First Amendment to the extent that it could be applied to prohibit the open audio taping of police officers in public performing their official duties. Any supposed governmental interest in protecting conversational privacy was not implicated when officers performing their duties engage in communications audible to those witnessing the events. In restricting more speech than necessary to protect legitimate privacy interests, the statute was likely to violate the free speech and free press guarantees of the First Amendment. An injunction against enforcement of the statute was therefore ordered. ACLU of Illinois v. Alvarez, #11-1286, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 9303 (7th Cir.). 

3.      A motorist stopped by two Maryland state troopers recorded his interaction with the officers without informing them he was doing so. The recording included both video and audio. He later posted the recordings on the YouTube ™ website. He was subsequently arrested and then indicted on charges that included, among other things, making the recordings of an oral private conversation. The trial judge ruled that the recorded audio exchange between the arrestee and the officers was not a private conversation as intended by the provisions of a state wiretap statute. “There is no expectation of privacy concerning a traffic stop on a public street. The law is clearly established that a traffic stop is not a private encounter.” Charges concerning making and disseminating the recording were dismissed, while charges concerning traffic violations arising from the same incident will go forward. “Those of us who are public officials and are entrusted with the power of the state are ultimately accountable to the public. When we exercise that power in public fora, we should not expect our actions to be shielded from public observation.” State of Maryland v. Graber, #12-K-10-647, 2010 Md. Cir. Ct. Lexis 7 (Harford County 2010).


Liability for Erasure or Destruction of Videos

1.     A federal lawsuit alleged that a police shooting of the plaintiff was captured by two security cameras and a camera phone, but that police officers seized the recordings and erased the footage. Villareal v. Indio, #5:16-cv-00141, PACER Doc. 1 (C.D. Cal. 2016).


Selected Links

1.          Body Worn Video Steering Group (UK)

2.          Body Worn Video, Wikipedia

3.          Police Video Requests, YouTube citizen FOIA postings

4.          Cops and courts mobile phone app., Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

5.          Big Data and the Dangers, by Katina Michael, YouTube webcast (May 2013)

6.          NIJ body cam info. webpage 


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141 different items, 13 topics, updated on 10/23/2017, © Copyright AELE

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