Tenth Circuit Misses Opportunity to Affirm the First Amendment Right to Record the Police
By Sophia Cope and Adam Schwartz
Posted June 5, 2021
We are disappointed that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit this week dodged a critical constitutional question: whether individuals have a First Amendment right to record on-duty police officers.
EFF had filed an amicus brief in the case, Frasier v. Evans, asking the court to affirm the existence of the right to record the police in the states under the court’s jurisdiction (Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico, Wyoming, and Utah, and those portions of the Yellowstone National Park extending into Montana and Idaho).
Frasier had used his tablet to record Denver police officers engaging in what he believed to be excessive force: the officers repeatedly punched a suspect in the face to get drugs out of his mouth as his head bounced off the pavement, and they tripped his pregnant girlfriend. Frasier filed a First Amendment retaliation claim against the officers for detaining and questioning him, searching his tablet, and attempting to delete the video. More…