Video Camera Taken by Police While Recording in Public

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Andrew Henderson and his camera with the parking lot of his Little Canada apartment building in the background, where he filmed Ramsey County deputies arresting a man. His camera was confiscated and he was charged with obstructing justice. He plans to sue. (Pioneer Press: John Doman)

Andrew Henderson and his camera with the parking lot of his Little Canada apartment building in the background, where he filmed Ramsey County deputies arresting a man. His camera was confiscated and he was charged with obstructing justice. He plans to sue. (Pioneer Press: John Doman)

Twincities.com reported that a man in Minnesota had his video camera taken by police  as he was recording them on a Little Canada street. “We’ll just take this for evidence,” officer Jacqueline Muellner said, after snatching the camera out of Andrew Henderson’s hand.

Henderson, an avid videographer that keeps a mini video recorder on him, often records police as they are making arrests. He is aware that in Minnesota, in a public space, he has the freedom to record people, including police officers, even if they do not give him permission. In this case the deputies were dealing with a bloody-faced man.

In an audio recording captured by Henderson’s camera, Henderson’s non-violent voice calmly asks for his camera back. He states that he has not done anything illegal. Nevertheless, the police refuse. “We’ll take this for evidence,” Muellner said.

After attempting to retrieve his camera from the Ramsey County Police Department several times, Henderson was charged with two misdemeanors: obstruction of legal process and disorderly conduct, even though Henderson was thirty feet away from the police activity. When he finally did get his camera back, all the footage he shot of the police had been deleted.

Cases such as this, where police deputies confiscate video cameras, are being seen in numerous cities across the country. It is interesting that all of the individuals on either side of court cases concerning legal or illegal video recordings, are actually recorded many times daily by surveillance cameras while performing their regular tasks.

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