New Eavesdropping laws being abused by police
Source: Steve Watson |
A police officer caught on video sleeping in his car told an Illinois man that “It’s now illegal to record a police officer in public” when the man asked him why he wasn’t patrolling the neighborhood.
A local ABC News affiliate reported that student Matt Fedora confronted the cop, claiming that he’d been asleep in a parking lot near his home for hours.
“You’ve been here for the past three hours,” Fedora is heard saying to the officer in the video. When the cop denied the claim, Fedora responded “Don’t lie to me, don’t lie to me.”
“I’m not lying to you,” the cop said, prompting Fedora to reply “If you keep lying, I’m going to post this on Youtube.”
“Oh, so you’re recording?” the cops said, before stating “Are you aware that it’s now illegal to record a police officer in public?” At which point Fedora stopped recording.
The cop’s claim is a stark reminder of how new eavesdropping laws in the state are being abused by law enforcement.
As Infowars reported last month, an amendment to a Senate bill in Illinois was overwhelmingly passed, which on the surface appears to make it a felony to record police officers and government officials.
The Amendment to Senate Bill 1342 was stealthily introduced on the back of an unrelated piece of legislation. It essentially reestablishes a completely unconstitutional eavesdropping law that was previously overturned by The Supreme Court in March for being too draconian.
The new amendment legislates its way around the ‘reasonable expectation of privacy’ standard in law by refraining from defining it, and merely states that recording any “oral communication between 2 or more persons” is now illegal.
Of course, were a case of this nature to go to court, Constitutional protections would likely trump the vaguely defined legislation. However, the legislation still has many concerned that it is designed to purposefully dissuade citizens from filming cops.
Jacob Huebert, Senior Attorney at Liberty Justice Center, noted that “There’s only one apparent reason for imposing a higher penalty on people who record police in particular: to make people especially afraid to record police.”
Judging by the police officer’s response in this latest case, some officers now genuinely believe it is illegal for people to film them in public.
“I started video taping, and it really upset me because our house was broken into last week,” Fedora explained. “I think that’s why you can see the passion and the anger in the video.”
“Stuff like this really shouldn’t be happening,” said Fedora. “Especially when it’s a block away from where there were three robberies.”
WSILTV News asked Councilor Jane Adams to clarify the law, to which she replied “It’s perfectly legal to video people in public, specifically police officers.”
Adams added that it is essential to “Make sure that our police officers on patrol know what the law is and know what citizens rights are,”
Carbondale Interim Police Chief Jeff Grubs says the department is investigating any wrongdoing.
“We don’t condone, nor will we tolerate, any type of workplace misconduct,” said Grubbs.