Carl Paul Arrested By Florida Cops Who Still Believe Filming Police Is Illegal

Categories: WTF Florida
via Palm Beach Sheriff's Office
Carl Paul was arrested yesterday for filming police during a traffic stop.
According to some cops right here in South Florida, the simple act of pointing a camera at a police officer on the job is a crime. Here's the absurd theory: In Florida, it's illegal to record someone without consent; therefore, filming a cop without his permission is a crime.

Never mind that courts have repeatedly said there's no expectation of privacy on public streets, or that arresting people for filming police is a move straight out of Stalinist Moscow -- Palm Beach County sheriffs arrested another 21-year-old man yesterday for daring to film his traffic stop on an iPhone.

Carl Paul, who lives in Pompano Beach, was driving in Lantana just after midnight on Monday when a Palm Beach deputy pulled him over.

Paul began questioning the cop why he was being pulled over and "repeatedly asked for their names," according to the Palm Beach Post.

When the officers noticed Paul was filming the whole encounter on his iPhone, they demanded that he stop. Paul reasonably said he was simply "documenting what was happening," but the deputy apparently couldn't tolerate the thought of his traffic stop being recorded.

Paul was arrested and charged with "illegal interception of communication."

Really, Palm Beach Sheriff's Office? You're still playing this card?

Riptide called the office's media relations department and was told they would need to "research the issue" before they could comment on Paul's arrest.

Allow us to help you out. We wrote about the ongoing fight between cops and would be citizen journalists last year.

While the courts have yet to make a definitive ruling on a federal level, most legal experts agree that although Florida is a "two-party consent" state for recordings, the law has a clear exception for situations where there is no "expectation of privacy" -- for example, when a cop is working in the middle of a public street.

"It really is a perversion of this statute to try to apply it to filming or recording what public officials are doing in public," Randall Marshall, legal director of ACLU Florida, told us.

Indeed, as Carlos Miller points out at his blog today, the last time Palm Beach cops tried to book someone for filming them, the courts tossed it out.

Tasha Ford was arrested in Boynton Beach after she refused to stop filming police arresting her 16-year-old son at a movie theater.

Paul's case is every bit as absurd. No one should spend a night in jail just for documenting their own traffic stop.

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.
My Voice Nation Help
14 comments
Tford
Tford

Correction my son was being harassed, embarrassed & bullied by the police.   I was arrested.  ~Tasha Ford

Rainah Goldfeather
Rainah Goldfeather

sad~ we live in such a police state... where we the people are the enemy instead of the citizens that the police are supposed to protect and serve...

Malcolm
Malcolm

Don't the cops break this law by filming the traffic stop with a dash mounted camera? Did they ask the drivers permission do film him? 

Bob Jasinski
Bob Jasinski

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit held on August 11, 2011 that citizens have a first Amendment right to record the police wiithout their knowledge or consent, and never mind that their is "no expectation of privacy" as is required by the definition of "oral communication" referred to in Florida wiretap statute. The expectation of privacy requirement is the same as in the Forth Amendment, so how can any reasonable officer believe that his conversations on duty in a public place are "private."

123
123

i recorded the police on a traffic stop, and got away with it.  I was really being pulled over for mierda and the knew it!!!

Paul
Paul

Yes Kevin.. What is the ruling on police filming the public using dash cams?  I don't think I have ever heard a cop say "license and registration please... Oh by the way do I have your approval to record this interaction?"

Roger
Roger

The law states the exception is in public. Cops don't know the law.This is on INFOWARS Auston Texas a radio show that reaches 5 million a week.  At the same time the ATF ships guns to Mexico. Fast and Furious that have killed 2 border agents.

Kevin Connors
Kevin Connors

" In Florida, it's illegal to record someone without consent; therefore, filming a cop without his permission is a crime."  So no dash cams for police in florida?

Harry Husker
Harry Husker

Yet he still was arrested and still put in jail. The cop may or may not have been aware but will not suffer for either his malice or his ignorance. Simply, the cops have no incentive to get shady areas of the law right and, worse, they face no penalty for being wrong. Meanwhile, citizens are faced with high expenses, lost time, and a harrowing ordeal while the courts have to figure it out. To seek civil penalties against the police often takes money and time, which most defendants lack.

There has to be a system to disincentivize cops and prosecutors from simply arresting first and then sorting it out. Especially when the charges are either gray or they are simply trivial, like recording a traffic stop.

Bone Lee Tadpole
Bone Lee Tadpole

Good Job Mr. Paul,  Thanks for takin the sword...!!!!    I've got a quick key on my phone for the EXACT SAME REASON...!!!!!!    I was pulled over a lil while back for absolutely nothing in Ft. Lauderdale,  but now I'm prepared to record anything at a moments notice ;)

Jeremy Goolsby
Jeremy Goolsby

yeah out of hand definately. where are the autthorities for the authorities?

Randy Gage
Randy Gage

This is really getting out of hand.

-RG

Rich7553
Rich7553

No. Per §934.03 Florida Statutes:

3(c) It is lawful under ss. 934.03-934.09 for an investigative or law enforcement officer or a person acting under the direction of an investigative or law enforcement officer to intercept a wire, oral, or electronic communication when such person is a party to the communication or one of the parties to the communication has given prior consent to such interception and the purpose of such interception is to obtain evidence of a criminal act.

Now Trending

Miami Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...