Oakland reaffirms citizens’ right to film police


The Oakland City Council reaffirmed the right of members of the public to photograph and videotape police Wednesday evening.

The council passed an ordinance brought by the civic organization 100 Black Men of the Bay Area. The ordinance stated that people have been detained and arrested for photographing police “despite California’s well established right to take photographs and make audio and video recordings of police officers.”

This problem was evidenced, among other incidents, by the Jan. 1, 2009, shooting of Oscar Grant III on the Fruitvale BART station platform, when BART police attempted to seize recording devices from witnesses, according to the ordinance.

The ordinance states that for anyone in a place where they have a right to be, photographing or videotaping police is not a violation and not probable cause for detainment or arrest.

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