Justice Dept. Sides With Man Suing Baltimore Police In Recording Suit

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Baltimore Police delete video of a controversial arrest at the Preakness from a man’s cell phone. Now, he’s suing and he’s got a powerful new ally.

Monique Griego explains what could be a deciding factor in this case.

In an unprecedented move, the Department of Justice has released an 18-page statement of interest asking a judge to side with that man who shot the video.

A woman was laying in a pool of blood as she’s arrested at Preakness.

Chris Sharp shot video of the controversial arrest by Baltimore City Police before his phone was taken.

“The way it was explained to me is that it was evidence and I had to give it to them,” Sharp, who is suing the city police department, said. “And the guy actually said, ‘That’s what you get for taping it.'”

When he got it back, the video was gone. He’s suing the police for violating his rights.

Now, the Department of Justice is asking a judge to rule in his favor.

In a statement, attorneys say: “The right to record police officers while performing duties in a public place, as well as the right to be protected from the warrantless seizure and destruction of those recordings, are not only required by the Constitution, they are consistent with our fundamental notions of liberty.”

“It’s the first time that we’re aware that they’ve spoken out about this issue,” Meredith Curtis of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said.

The ACLU says this is a cutting edge problem that needs attention.

With video cameras on nearly every new cell phone, the ACLU says it’s seeing more and more cases just like this one.

In 2010, a motorcyclist faced criminal charges for taping a state trooper during a traffic stop. The ACLU won that case.

“It’s important for police departments to get a strong message that the First Amendment matters,” Curtis said.

Baltimore City Police have developed training protocols for similar situations. But the Justice Department says that isn’t good enough.

The ACLU is asking for a comprehensive policy in the police department that addresses an individual’s rights to record police officers in public.

  • JJ

    Once again, the thug criminals win! What a joke!

  • Working Poor

    When the thug is a cop, that is not a joke, that is just scary.

    The cop had no reason to fear the the guy’s phone camera unless he was doing something he shouldn’t have. And really at the Preakness? Was some drunk celebutaunt giving the police so much trouble that they had to beat her senseless, or is that the only way Baltimore police can get things done?

  • Sharon

    Some Baltimore police officers think they can do whatever they want to do to the citizens unless they are stopped. Even they should not be above the law. That particular officer knew he was committing a crime and that is why he destroyed evidence by deleting the video. Based on our technology, that video recording can be retrieved by an expert.

  • Time to rise

    I’ll bet they would have never done that to a TV news crew. Once again, it proves the war going on against the 99% middle class who the authoritarian oppressor 1% think are weak and powerless. Rise up 99%! Rise up!

    • Rich

      You would lose that bet.
      When the cops cracked down on Occupy in New York, among those they targeted were journalists holding cameras

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