Can I record a police officer with my cell phone?
We’ve all seen the footage of police officers recorded by an innocent bystander or even by the alleged criminal themselves. You’ve also likely seen more than one law enforcement officer ask them to turn off the camera. In some cases, refusal to turn off the camera has escalated to a confrontation with officers, and potential obstruction charges.
But is it legal to record a police officer with your cell phone?
Although few things in law are definitive, with a ‘it depends’ asterisk next to any answer, in general, the right to record an ‘on duty’ police officer in public (where they have no expectation of privacy) is protected by the First Amendment.
There are THREE major considerations to understand when recording a police officer with your cell phone:
- Your recording cannot interfere with the officer doing their job
- There must be no reasonable expectation of privacy. When it comes to police officers, this provision has been deemed by FL courts to not apply. So long as the officer is engaged in police work in the view of the general public, they have no expectation of privacy.
- It is NOT legal to record a conversation without prior consent of the individual or individuals involved in the conversation.