Futterman Questions Police Recording Ban, Posner Disagrees

Opponents question police recording ban

Even if he wanted to, Chicago attorney Craig Benson Futterman said he likely could not comply with an Illinois law that allows citizens to photograph or videotape police officers but bars them from recording the officers’ words.

“I’m not even sure how to turn off the audio on my cellphone,” Futterman said.

And Futterman said he would not want to hit the “off” button if he spotted an on-duty police officer on the street or in another public place violating someone’s civil rights.

The First Amendment protects the right to make such recordings, Futterman said.


For his part, Judge Richard A. Posner of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals appears to have no problem with the provision of the Illinois Eavesdropping Act that bars making audio recordings of police in public.

During oral arguments earlier this week in a challenge to that ban, Posner said the law is “full of limitations” on free speech.

And Posner suggested that prohibiting audio recording but not photographing or videotaping the police constitutes a reasonable— and constitutional — limitation on free speech.

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