Center for Constitutional Rights Stands with Copwatch Groups to Ensure Their Right to Monitor Police Activity

Copwatch groups are made up of concerned community members, who take action to lawfully monitor local law enforcement activity in their neighborhoods. Copwatch groups are proactively working to reduce police violence and misconduct in exercising their right to hold the police accountable for their actions. Many Copwatch groups use video recording to document police misconduct, thereby shifting the balance of power between law enforcement agencies and the communities they patrol, and in some cases affecting changes in police practices and policies. Video recordings of police activity are both constitutionally protected and vital to help deter police misconduct or expose it when it happens.

Thank you for standing with us in the fight for justice.

Sincerely,

Annette Warren Dickerson
Director of Education and Outreach
Center for Constitutional Rights

Amicus Brief in Glik v. Cunniffe, et al.

Synopsis

CCR has submitted an amicus brief in Glik v. Cunniffe before the First Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of Berkeley Copwatch, Communities United against Police Brutality, Justice Committee, Milwaukee Police Accountability Coalition, Nodutdol for Korean Community Development and Portland Copwatch. The brief argues that concerned individuals and Copwatch groups have the right to record public police activity and that that right is clearly protected under the First Amendment. 

Status

CCR filed an amicus brief in support of Glik on January 25, 2011.

Description

CCR has submitted an amicus brief in Glik v. Cunniffe before the First Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of Berkeley Copwatch, Communities United against Police Brutality, Justice Committee, Milwaukee Police Accountability Coalition, Nodutdol for Korean Community Development and Portland Copwatch. The brief argues that concerned individuals and Copwatch groups have the right to record public police activity and that that right is clearly protected under the First Amendment.

About the case:

On October 1, 2007, Simon Glik held out his cellphone and made an audiovisual recording of three Boston police officers, John Cunniffe, Peter J. Savalis, and Jerome Hall-Brewster, making an arrest on Boston Common. Though Plaintiff held the cellphone in plain view and did not interfere with the arrest, the officers arrested Glik for violating the Massachusetts wiretap statute, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 272, § 99, as well as aiding the escape of a prisoner and disturbing the peace. The Commonwealth voluntarily dismissed the aiding the escape charge, and the Boston Municipal Court dismissed the remaining two charges by written decision dated February 1, 2008.

Glik then brought suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the three officers and the City of Boston on February 1, 2010. He is represented by private attorney David Milton and ACLU attorney Sarah Wunsch. The complaint alleges that the individual Defendants violated the First and Fourth Amendments by arresting him for openly recording police officers carrying out their duties in public, and that the City’s policies and customs caused these violations. The complaint also brings state law claims against the individual officers for malicious prosecution and violation of the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act.

 

Timeline

Attached File

  • CCR Amicus Brief.pdf
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    http://ccrjustice.org/ourcases/current-cases/glik