A Florida deputy sheriff escaped culpability for arresting a citizen photographing an accident scene in a ruling by the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. The officer confiscated the phone of the man and detained him in a patrol car for a half hour. In a 2-1 ruling, the court said there was no established right to take the photos of the police so the deputy was entitled to qualified immunity. The dissenting judge noted that the man’s right was established by a prior 11th circuit ruling. (People for the American Way, April 27, 2021, by Elliot Mincberg)
Geoffrey A. Fowler of The Washington Post, April 22, 2021, reports that citizens have the right to record police actions but must be discrete in not interfering with their work or endangering themselves. It is best to maintain a safe distance from the action. State laws and police department policies vary but it is in the interest of law enforcement to have records of proceedings.