Rights Lab: Can I Film the Police?

Rights Lab: Can I Film the PoliceFilming police is legal in all 50 states — so why are people still being arrested while doing it? (Screengrab: Rights Lab)

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Filming police is legal in all 50 states — so why are people still being arrested while doing it? The issue at hand is how any one set of actions can be interpreted by police officers — as a constitutionally protected activity, or as a threat.

The third episode of Rights Lab, a groundbreaking web series produced in partnership with Scrappers Film Group and Truthout, uses experiments and performance art to explore the gap between what the law says and how recording law enforcement plays out on the ground. Artists Ricardo Gamboa and Steven Beaudion take to the streets of Chicago to film police in a handful of different situations, with shockingly disparate results.

Rights Lab uses real-life case studies, featuring local activists and offering clear and compelling explanations of ongoing legal debates to explore Stingray surveillance, when and how it is legal to film a police officer, the burgeoning debate behind consumer drone flight, where you can protest, and much more.