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SPRINGFIELD — Illinois lawmakers have another chance to allow people to record police officers in public places.

By Stephanie Fryer

SPRINGFIELD — Illinois lawmakers have another chance to allow people to record police officers in public places.

“This would address some high-profile prosecutions that occurred under the existing eavesdropping law of citizens who have done nothing more but take out their cell phones and record a police officer performing public duty,” said state Rep. Elaine Nekritz, D-Northbrook, the House sponsor.

A similar bill failed in the House by 15 votes last month after police organizations opposed it. Law enforcement officials feared people could alter the recordings and use them to file complaints against officers.

Nekrtiz said the issue of tampered recordings is addressed in Senate Bill 1808.

The new measure requires the state’s attorney to review any recordings in which an officer is considered to have acted illegally. Anyone caught tampering with recordings faces a felony charge.

Video recordings without sound are legal in IllinoisIllinois law allows people to videotape officers in public places, however, audio recordings without the consent of both parties also is a felony.

Illinois’ eavesdropping law has come under fire. In several cases, people were charged with recording police officers suspected of wrongdoing, without their consent. In two of those cases, the law was declared unconstitutional.

“I think that citizens have a first amendment right to do this, exactly what we are proposing in this eavesdropping law,” Nekrtiz said.

The bill goes before the Houses Judiciary Committee on Civil Law on Wednesday morning.

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7 Comments

  1. no audio of police in public, but the NSA may snoop on you.

    Isn't it strange that one can stand outside in public clearly taking a video/audio of an officer on duty and be hauled into court for eavesdropping…but the National Security Agency can now read your private email, listen to your phone calls, check your library checkout record and all without letting you know it's going on.

    I think Joe Citizen is losing all around.

    We Americans better wake up and realize the only war that's going on is against our rights and Mr. "Hope" Obama is leading the battle…against us (with Romney eager to take over)

    Now here's something else interesting…

    A couple of weeks ago I put in a request to 311 to tell me if it is illegal in Evanston to videotape a police officer on duty in a public place because I read a story in the paper about someone in another state getting hauled into court for it.

    I got a response from a city attorney saying that city legal staff cannot advise the public but for my information, the Illinois law on eavesdropping was attached….yep, just what you'd think….pages and pages of legal jargon that I was given to interpret for myself. Of course after I study it and decide what it means, that doesn't have any bearing on what the government thinks it means – but apparently I can't find that out.

    This incident seems like a minor thing, but the country I knew as a young man is slipping away with the authorities getting more power and you and me…well, good luck to us!

     

  2. You will call Robyn Gabel, right?

    Tell Robyn Gabel that she should support Rep. Nekritz effort on the eavedropping issue. Her Evanston office numbers are 

    (847) 424-9898
    (847) 424-9828 FAX

    If we do nothing, we get what we deserve.

  3. Projection

    A similar bill failed in the House by 15 votes last month after police organizations opposed it. Law enforcement officials feared people could alter the recordings and use them to file complaints against officers.

    Projection perhaps?

  4. The opposition is all about protecting bad cops

    The police unions that oppose this bill are not worried about people "altering" video footage, they are worried that citizens will catch their members acting unlawfully or inappropriately.  Video footage of police officers has been increasingly used to catch police officers abusing people, acting unprofessionally, and exposing police lies.  Police want to be able to record citizens anytime they want, including speed cameras and crime cameras posted throughout Chicago, but they don't want the public recording them.  This is such an important bill — people, please call your state rep/senator.

  5. I record everything and I am not a felon.

    Each and every time I get into my car to drive anywhere, I place my phone in a cradle directly in front of the rear-view mirror. I use it to create audio/video recordings of everything that occurs in front of my car as I'm driving. The recordings are instantaneously uploaded/stored in my own personal cloud and cannot be accessed by anyone but me.

    I'm a very tame, safe driver and will very likely never be at fault in any traffic accident situation…..the recordings protect me from being falsely accused of being the cause of an accident. If a police officer happens to stray too close and his/her image/voice is captured in my recordings, so be it. Let them accuse me of "illegal wiretapping" or "eavesdropping". I'll fight the charge and win. If a police officer is not doing anything illegal, they shouldn't have anything to worry about. If they are doing something illegal, it is your (my) duty to record that illegal acticity. Why do they worry so much about being recorded? Hmmm…..beats me. Perhaps they have *lots* to worry about…

    It's high time that we take some power back from those who were hired to serve and protect. Support this bill. Contact Robyn and let her know how you feel.

  6. Logical induction

    Protect the innocent, let it be a like a role model, if this can't be achieved something is either out of place or more likly corrupt.  This must take a rocket scientest  to figure out because apparently some politicians cant.

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