The First Amendment issue here is, as the parties frame it, fairly narrow: is there a constitutionally protected right to videotape police carrying out their duties in public? Basic First Amendment principles, along with case law from this and other circuits, answer that question unambiguously in the affirmative.
So ruled the First Circuit Court of Appeals in late August.
Apparently the two employees of the Manchester Police Department featured in this video were too busy “serving and protecting” the good people of Manchester to have gotten word. Because when Ademo and I were noticed filming their traffic stop at the corner of Armory and Dubuque, they conferred, shone their spotlight on us, then drive off after speaking with a third colleague in a cruiser.
They left before the vehicle they had stopped left. The same thing happened on June 3rd when we watched the watchmen with others.
But, I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised, seeing as no one employed by Manchester PD has yet spoken out against unjust charges and massive waste of resources being devoted to prosecute individuals who allegedly used children’s chalk on public property. But, someone will be the first.