House Shoots Down Bill To Allow Recording Of Police Officers

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — Illinois lawmakers have defeated a measure to allow private citizens to make audio recordings of police officers on the job.

State law already allows video recordings without sound, but the measure would have allowed citizens to make audio recordings of police in public spaces.

State Rep. Elaine Nekritz (D-Northbrook), who sponsored the measure, said it’s a citizen’s First Amendment right to make such recordings.

“A public official performing public duties on public property really has no expectation of privacy,” Nekritz said. “Citizens who would engage in this kind of behavior are, in fact, exercising their protected First Amendment rights.”

But State Rep. Dena Carli (D-Chicago), a Chicago Police sergeant, doesn’t see it that way.

“Citizens distracting these officers, even more than they could possibly be distracted in the situations that they’re in, would be such a harm to these officers,” she said.

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Carli said police officers have enough to worry about on the job as it is.

“These recordings could be manipulated. They could be put viral at any point in time, making law enforcement look even worse than sometimes we possibly look. We go out there every day and all the good that we do gets overlooked by one possible shot on YouTube,” she said.

But Nekritz said officers should have nothing to worry about from YouTube if they’re doing their jobs properly.

“For those police officers that are doing what they’re supposed to be doing, we’re not allowing citizens to interfere with the performance of that duty,” Nekritz said. “We are simply giving them the right to do what, again, what is sort of commonplace today; which is to take out your cell phone when you see something happening and record that.”

Critics said it was unfair that the law would allow citizens to make audio recordings of police, when police cannot make audio recordings of someone without first obtaining a court order.

The measure failed by a 45-59 vote, 15 votes shy of passage.

Currently, Illinois is a “two-party consent” state when it comes to wiretapping, meaning all parties in a conversation must consent to audio recordings of what is said, even in public spaces.

However, a Cook County judge ruled earlier this month that the state’s wiretapping law is unconstitutional, meaning the matter could eventually be decided by the Illinois Supreme Court.

  • tom sharp

    Remember boys and girls, the last thing any politician wants in this state is for the truth to come out. No state messes with Constitutional Rights more than the maggots in Springfield. Pick an amendment, Madigan et al. violate it.

  • Me

    If the cops need a warrant, then their dash-cams need to be removed. Me driving down the road does not mean they can record me.

    What about the red light cameras or other CC activity out there? Per the law already in place, those are illegal too. I haven’t given consent.

    • Bill

      You are not a police officer. You really don’t see the difference?

  • RL

    you dont need to be a police officer to see that their are as many bad cops as their are good ones….eliminate the possibility of proof and you get more of the same….

  • nikita biddle

    We do need to record them. I recorded two police officers setting me up and they arrested and charged me. They confiscated the evidence and now I’m a felon.

    • LYNDIA

      The police is not always right; the police is not always wrong. However, they need to be recorded at ALL TIMES because of cases like yours, nikita.

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