[Video Link] A fellow named Scott Cover noticed a group of Baltimore Police standing over a man handcuffed on the ground. He remembered reading that morning that the Baltimore Police department had told its officers they couldn't arrest people for taking photos or videos of them while they worked, so Cover pulled out his cell phone and began taping. One of the officers spotted Cover and order to him to leave, because he was "loitering." He argued with her a bit, but started to walk away, taping the officers has he left. That wasn't good enough for the officer, so she stopped him and asked for his ID. The video ends there.
The new rule says that citizens have an "absolute right" to photograph or video record the enforcement actions taking place in public view. The chief legal counsel for the agency called it "an extension of the citizen's right to see. [An officer] wouldn't go up to a citizen at a crime scene and tell them to close their eyes, so the officer can't tell them they can't film."
But the rules also says that the person recording may not "violate any section of any law, ordinance, code or criminal article" - such as loitering - while doing so. The officers on Cross Street seemed aware of that fine print.
The police union says the officers acted appropriately and professionally; the ACLU says it shows there's more work to be done.
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. Come and hear Mark speak at the ALA conference in Chicago on July 1.