Police misconduct is nothing new. What is new is that police are now in the public eye more than ever thanks to smartphones. A quick search of YouTube for “police brutality” reveals thousands of such videos.
Is Recording Police Brutality in Philadelphia Lawful?
Recording police conducting public duties is lawful in Pennsylvania. Still, some police take exception to this law and use unlawful tactics when faced with public recordings. This was the situation confronting an individual on May 27, 2013. While filming police brutality in Philadelphia, the individual was confronted by police. The situation grew ugly and he too became a victim. Worse, police then destroyed the phone and with it, exculpatory evidence. That case is not yet settled, but it does raise serious issues.
Should Police Brutality be Recorded and What Should be Done if Confronted?
One of the key reasons many are exonerated for their role in police brutality cases is video. In some cases, it was video shot by the public; in others, body or dashcams. As of April 2015, the Philadelphia Police Department began using bodycams.
However, bodycams do not pick up all activity. Rather, these camera units worn typically on the shoulder of a law enforcement officer capture close angles. If someone witnesses a situation of police brutality in Philadelphia, it would be wise to record the event. However, what is needed are wide angle views. So, film from a safe, comfortable distance.
If police do become confrontational, the most important thing to do is remain calm. Speak in low, yet clear tones. Speak slowly. Explain that you understand that Pennsylvania law permits recording the event. Understand too that even when doing their job right, most officers become nervous when recorded. Offer to step back. Do nothing that could later be interpreted as resisting. If able, quickly send the video to yourself.
Philadelphia Police Misconduct Lawyers at Patrick G. Geckle LLC Advocate for Victims of Police Brutality in Pennsylvania
Sadly, even when someone does their best to stay out of the way of police and peacefully record instances of police brutality in Philadelphia, law enforcement chooses to overreach. If so, you are going to need Philadelphia police misconduct lawyers at Patrick G. Geckle LLC. To get in touch, either complete this online form or call 215-735-3326 or toll free 800-555-7780 to arrange a consultation with our Philadelphia office. We serve Central and Eastern Pennsylvania including Berks County, Bucks County, Carbon County, Delaware County, Lackawanna County, Lancaster County, Lehigh County, Luzerne County, Monroe County, and Montgomery County.