First Amendment

Police Harassment of Photographers Remains a Problem

Police Harassment of Photographers Remains a Problem

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 1:31pm

It’s been almost two years since we posted our ”Know Your Rights” Guide for Photographers, began calling attention to the problem of police harassment of photographers (including through this video), and began blogging about the issue. And several years before that, our affiliates around the country had already begun filing what have become numerous lawsuits on the issue.

It’s also been nearly two years since the First Circuit Court of Appeals held that the right to film police officers is protected by the First Amendment and that, moreover, that principle is so “fundamental and virtually self-evident” that it should have been known to the police even before the court’s ruling. That ruling was only the most prominent—courts around the country have been pretty much unanimous in finding such a right.

Yet the problem persists.

As Carlos Miller documents on his invaluable site Photography is Not a Crime, incidents of police harassment of photographers (and worse) continue to take place around the country on a daily or near-daily basis.

Why is it so hard for police officers to learn the law? We have seen settlements in some cities in which police department management has sent clear messages to their officers instructing them on the law, but in many cities, not enough has been done to train officers and/or enforce requirements that they abide by the Constitution.

As citizens prepare to gather this Fourth of July for rallies to restore the Fourth Amendment, let’s hope that this First Amendment right is respected as well.

School Promises In Settlement To Stop Removing Library Books For 'Advocacy Of Homosexuality'

School Promises In Settlement To Stop Removing Library Books For 'Advocacy Of Homosexuality'

By Joshua Block, LGBT Project at 4:49pm

Last year, Davis School District in Utah removed a children’s book about a family with two moms...

The Internet You Know and Love is in Danger

The Internet You Know and Love is in Danger

By Sandra Fulton, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:16pm

Net neutrality – the principle that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) must treat all data on the Internet equally – is vital to free speech. But earlier this month, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the FCC's net neutrality rules, jeopardizing…

New Proposal Could Singlehandedly Cripple Free Speech Online

New Proposal Could Singlehandedly Cripple Free Speech Online

By Lee Rowland, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project & Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 5:10pm

The Internet has evolved into a true marketplace for every idea – if you can think of it, you can find it on the web. That the online world has blossomed into this virtual town square teeming with diverse content is no accident. It is largely a creation…

In Disturbing Trend, Kansas School the Latest to Punish Student for Harmless Tweet

In Disturbing Trend, Kansas School the Latest to Punish Student for Harmless Tweet

By Greger Calhan, Legal Fellow, ACLU, Racial Justice Program & Brian Hauss, Legal Fellow, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 2:46pm

Update: An earlier version of this post did not cite Heights High School's letter to Wesley and his parents, which was originally published on KWCH.com.

In Kansas, joking about sports can be hazardous to your high school graduation. Wesley…

Media Protection Rule Helpful, But Not a Panacea

Media Protection Rule Helpful, But Not a Panacea

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:50pm

The new rule released yesterday governing when the Department of Justice can investigate journalists seems like a dollop of progress with a sizeable helping of potential concern. The attorney general does, however, deserve credit for some progress…

Justice Department's Overreaching on Leaks Threatens Freedom of the Press

Justice Department's Overreaching on Leaks Threatens Freedom of the Press

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:54pm

A week after the Department of Justice notified the Associated Press that it had secretly seized records for more than 20 phone lines...

UK Ideological Travel Ban Helps Hate

UK Ideological Travel Ban Helps Hate

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:42pm

So, this sounds like as good a time as ever to make a counterintuitive argument.

Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer—two notable critics of "creeping sharia" and the "Islamization" of America—were invited to speak at an English Defense League…

The Ministry of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Truth

The Ministry of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Truth

By Rita Cant, Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 11:16am

The frenzy over "Operation Fast and Furious" has been hard to avoid. It's been the subject of a massive DOJ report, Congressional hearings, contempt votes, subpoena fights in federal court, and relentless media scrutiny. But if there's one telling…

Citizens of Johnson County v. Two Bare Breasts

Citizens of Johnson County v. Two Bare Breasts

By Lee Rowland, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 10:48am

A set of bronze boobs has sent a group of citizens in Kansas into a tizzy. Offended by a statue depicting a woman's breasts, they are now stepping up their fight against a statue in the Overland Park Arboretum, just south of Kansas City.

"Accept…

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