Simon Glik, a resident of Boston, MA, was recording an arrest of another man in 2007 via his camera. It didn't take long before a police officer noticed this and placed Glik under arrest. The case has finally been settled, and Glik has been awarded $170,000 in compensation.
I've posted a few articles recently having to do with legal battles related to photographers, videographers, and press members, so this seemed like another post to continue the trend. Glik was cited under Massachusetts' strict wiretapping laws and it took the help of the Massachusetts ACLU to get him released and the charges dropped. In response, Glik and the ACLU filed a civil lawsuit against the city for the arrest, which was clearly over the top and unnecessary.
The United States Court of Appeals recently ruled that Glik had a clearly established First Amendment right to record the actions of public official on public property (in this case, a sidewalk). In response to all of the hooplah, Boston finally admitted that it had made a mistake, which might be the first time someone has actually been apologized to after being accused, arrested, or harassed by a public official or security guard.
With regards to the situation, Glik said: "The law had been clear for years that openly recording a video is not a crime. It's sad that it takes so much for police to learn the laws they were supposed to know in the first place. I hope Boston police officers will never again arrest someone for openly recording their public actions."
As a result of this fiasco, the city of Boston has changed its practices and standard procedures to reflect the knowledge gleaned from this incident (I'm just thinking they aren't too keen on forking out another $170k if this happens again). The precedent has been set, and I wonder if other departments in other cities will follow Boston's lead.
During his arrest, Glik claims that he was made fun of and berated and that when he stated he was going to file a lawsuit, he was not taken seriously. I wonder what 'Whoops!' sounds like with a Boston accent.