“Stop Filming Me, or I’m Taking You to Jail” – Can Cops Do That?

unlawful arrestIncidents of police brutality in Miami are well-documented. Sometimes you may find yourself in an unfortunate situation where you feel obligated to record the officer on the scene with your smartphone camera. If you believe you are being victimized or subjected to an unlawful arrest, a video recording may act as a deterrent or serve as a crucial piece of evidence later. This article will definitively describe your rights when it comes to filming a police officer in Florida.

Filming an On-Duty Officer Is Legal

Florida is one of the few states where you must obtain prior consent from all parties when you are filming. However, according to Florida law, “parties” in this case does not include an on-duty law enforcement officer. Therefore, you have the legal right to record a police officer on duty with an openly displayed device. Since the police officer is performing their job within view of the public, they cannot have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Can an Officer Arrest You for Filming in Florida?

It is crucial to understand what is an unlawful arrest in Florida in the context of filming a police officer. You must make sure that you make a recording openly and not secretly. The officer must be on duty and acting in view of the general public. You should not come across as if you are threatening the officer or trying to interfere physically with their legal duty. 

what is an unlawful arrestHowever, even when you are on the right side of the law, you should remember that a police officer may feel you are challenging their authority when you record them. They could try to harass you, impound your recording device, or even make an unlawful arrest. That said, an officer cannot charge you for openly filming them when they are working in public.

Even if a law enforcement officer warns you it is illegal to film them, you have the right to inform them politely that you are aware of the Florida state law, where recording an on-duty police officer is not illegal. If you believe a law enforcement offer harassed or brutalized you, then you should speak to a skilled and knowledgeable police brutality lawyer in Miami.  

Tips to Follow When Filming a Police Officer 

  • Maintain a safe distance and do not come too close to a police officer who is carrying out their duty. 
  • Do not shove your camera in their face, even inadvertently. 
  • Avoid making any sudden or surprising movements that they can misinterpret. 
  • If you have a smartphone, you may download one of the police recording phone apps. These free apps will make it more convenient to record and save the data. 

Police brutality in Miami is a known occurrence. You must assert your rights as a citizen and act without any fear of harassment or brutality from the police. 

Protect Your Rights With an Experienced Attorney

If you are feeling uncomfortable with an interaction with the police, and you want to protect yourself from harassment, prevent police brutality, or document the situation, openly recording an on-duty law enforcement officer in public is within your rights in Florida. If you have any questions regarding this law, consult an experienced and professional attorney who knows Florida criminal defense law. 

Chad Piotrowski can guide you through the criminal defense process and inform you of your rights when it comes to recording a police interaction. Call us today at 305-783-3436 or contact us online for a free, confidential consultation.