Protesters and Photographers: Know Your Rights

Protesters and Photographers: Know Your Rights

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No matter who you are you have the First Amendment right to:

Peacefully assemble and protest in public spaces and photograph and videotape the police or anything else in a public space.

Here's the deal:

Public spaces include streets, sidewalks, and public parks.
Private property owners can set rules for public entry (like a theater saying “no cell phones”).

The right to take photos does not give you the right to: 

Go places you're not otherwise allowed, record audio of other people’s private, conversations, trespass, or interfere with police engaged in legitimate law enforcement operations.

Police officers may not: confiscate or demand to view your digital photos or videos without a warrant, or delete your photos or videos under any circumstances.

If you're stopped or detained for taking photos:

  • Be polite.
  • Don’t resist.
  • Ask, "Am I free to go?"
  • If the officer says “no,” you are being detained.
  • If you are detained, ask what crime you're suspected of committing. 

Until you ask to leave, being stopped is considered voluntary.

  • Remind the officer that taking photographs is your First Amendment right and does not constitute reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.

If you believe any right listed here has been violated, contact your local ACLU!

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