Right to Record: Do you know your rights? - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Right to Record: Do you know your rights?

Legally you are allowed to record law enforcement. Source: Jac Bedrossian. Legally you are allowed to record law enforcement. Source: Jac Bedrossian.
HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) -

More and more officers are equipped with body cameras, but most of us have a camera that could show a different view. 

A cell phone recording of Eric Garner being choked by NYPD officers in 2014 went viral. The video was used as evidence in a grand jury case against the officer. 

People are allowed to record the police in a public space, as long as it doesn’t hinder them from doing their job, according to Hattiesburg Police Lt. Jon Traxler.

For example, if someone were to walk up recording the police and the officer asks them to stand back and they don’t. They would be violating an officer’s lawful command.

Traxler encourages people to record their interactions with the police. He advises if you get pulled over to put the phone in your pocket or on the dashboard during the interaction for safety reasons.

“We wouldn’t want to mistake something in their hand to being something that it was not,” said Lt. Traxler.

The Supreme Court ruled that police can’t take your phone unless you’re arrested. They also can’t go through it without a search warrant.

American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi released a Mobile Justice app that allows you to record your interactions with the police and send it straight to the ACLU law offices.

“You don’t have to worry about it being deleted,” said Staff Attorney, Joshua Tom.

Tom said that offices constantly check to see if there are any recordings sent in. 

“I think it’s important to have public oversight over officials,” said Tom.

Lt. Traxler agrees. He said if people send in complaints the first thing they do is watch the recording of the interaction. 

“We don’t have to interview any witnesses or have the officers come in because the video shows us everything,” said Lt. Traxler. “We don’t mind you coming in and saying somebody did something wrong.”

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