It would appear that there’s a rebellion going on in Illinois. Illinois is one of the few states that will bring felony charges against people who record cops. Earlier this year, a jury basically nullified that law when they refused to convict a woman who recorded internal affairs cops pressuring her to drop a harassment complaint. Now … this:
An Illinois judge ruled the state’s eavesdropping law unconstitutional as applied to a man who faced up to to 75 years in prison for secretly recording his encounters with police officers and a judge.
“A statute intended to prevent unwarranted intrusions into a citizen’s privacy cannot be used as a shield for public officials who cannot assert a comparable right of privacy in their public duties,” the judge wrote in his decision dismissing the five counts of eavesdropping charges against defendant Michael Allison.
“Such action impedes the free flow of information concerning public officials and violates the First Amendment right to gather such information,” he wrote.
Damn. Fucking. Straight.
We have to enjoy our small victories like this; they don’t come often. But a strong consensus is building for the digital age among conservatives, liberals and everyone in between: photography is not a crime. You have the right to record public officials when they’re acting badly. And they don’t have the right to shut you up.
Start scattering, guys. The lights are going on.