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State Senator

Martin M. Looney

President Pro Tempore

Representing New Haven, Hamden & North Haven

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Contact: Adam Joseph

March 12, 2012

Senate Majority Leader Looney: Connecticut Citizens Have a Right to Record Police

Senate Majority Leader Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven) testified today before the General Assembly’s Judiciary Committee in favor of legislation that would allow a person to bring a cause of action against a law enforcement officer who interferes with the person taking a photographic or digital still or video image an officer in the performance of his or her duties provided that the individual was not otherwise interfering with the officer.

“In Connecticut, citizens have a right to record police officers,” testified Senator Looney. However, there have been recent incidents in which officers harassed and threatened citizens who were attempting to exercise this right. I believe that creating a possible cause of action against officers who attempt to intimidate citizens in this manner would serve as a deterrent to this behavior. Officers who are following appropriate law and procedure should not object to this recording so long as the recording does not interfere with the officer's ability to perform his or her legitimate duties.

Senator Looney is sponsoring SB 245, An Act Concerning the Recording of Police Activity by the Public, in part, due to the 2009 arrest of Father James Manship, who was charged with interfering with an officer after videotaping a police action at an East Haven convenience store.

“Police officers know or should know that the right to record is clearly established,” testified Sandra Staub, Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut. “Numerous incidents in the past few years have revealed, however, that some peace officers disregard this right. In 2009, for example, Rev. James Manship of St. rose of Lima church in New Haven was arrested and charged with interfering with an officer after video taping police allegedly harassing Latinos at an East Haven convenience store. This video helped bring to light the alleged racial profiling and harassment of which members of the East Haven Police Department stand accused.&lrquo;


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