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First Amendment right to record video of police officers at work - Honolulu, Hawaii news, sports & weather - KITV Channel 4

First Amendment right to record video of police officers at work at the center of a court case

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Is it a First Amendment right to record video of police officers at work? Some footage is at the center of a court case asking that very question.

Thomas Russo of media outlet Maui Time, shot the video back in 2012 and got arrested for it. 

At the time, police officers were conducting traffic stops on Haleakala Highway, and he wanted to report about the massive traffic backup when he became the news. 

Maui police charged him with failure to comply with a lawful order and disorderly conduct.

The case has gone back and forth for five years. 

It was dismissed, appealed, re-opened, and the Supreme Court heard the case again Thursday.

Russo says the case has broader implications for anyone with a smart phone who can shoot video. 

"This is extremely topical to everyone in the state of Hawaii and it's holding government accountable. There is nothing wrong with filming an officer in the line of duty. I don't think I was breaking the law," Russo said.

The Court will issue a decision later.

The justices heard this in front of a group of UH Hilo students, as part of the Judiciary's Courts in the Community outreach program.

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