The Perils of Filming Police

Friday, June 15, 2012


It is not illegal to film police, but there have been several instances of citizens being arrested because the police didn't want to appear on camera. Bob talks to Mickey Osterreicher, general counsel for the National Press Photographers Association, who has been doing workshops with police around the country about the right to film police in the line of duty.


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Mickey Osterreicher

Hosted by:

Bob Garfield

Comments [2]

Pete Eyre from Keene, NH

Howdy, I just included the following on a related blog post made to and wanted to share it here as feedback (

Overall the episode communicated some great information, such as noting that police employees should welcome filming as it creates an objective record, but as with most news sources, the podcast was not without latent bias:

Host Bob Garfiled and guest Mickey Osterreicher framed interactions between humans through a lens that categorizes them as either an "officer" or "civilian." Such a distinctions denotes that differences exist, which only perpetuates a flawed reality that allows for the institutionalized violence and rights-violations that today exists from one perceived group toward another group. Here at Cop Block we know that badges don't grant extra rights.

By conflating the actions of some individuals to an entire geographical area - such as "Baltimore" doing this or that - it only reinforces the bad idea that certain people, based on their place of employment, can speak for others and it very literally shapes the conversation and absolves actors of personal responsibility. After all, it's not "Baltimore PD" that beats, maces or kills someone, but an individual, who is responsible for their actions. Language is important.

The most realistic alternative to accomplish the stated goals was completely overlooked. Though the "culture of policing" was rightly singled-out as being flawed, both the host and guest readily admit that transgressions of rights continue to occur. Despite legislation and other policy re-writes the double-standards still occur. And they occur since a distinction for those wearing badges is believed to exist.. Garfield and Osterreicher fail to take their views to their logical conclusion and advocate that policing, like any other good or service, could be better provided through consensual interactions.

Jun. 25 2012 05:40 PM

I was preparing to comment on this story when it was announced Rodney King has passed. If anyone has ANY doubt why documenting the police, in the same way they do us, watch the video of his beating. Had it not been for a single brave citizen with a camera, none of us would have known that beating, and thousands of others, are regular police practice.

Camera light is the best disinfectant.

Jun. 17 2012 12:11 PM

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