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Boston Pays Out $170,000 To Man Arrested For Recording Police 270

Posted by Soulskill
from the better-than-a-strongly-worded-letter dept.
Ian Lamont writes "The City of Boston has reached a $170,000 settlement with Simon Glik, who was arrested by Boston Police in 2007 after using his mobile phone to record police arresting another man on Boston Common. Police claimed that Glik had violated state wiretapping laws, but later dropped the charges and admitted the officers were wrong to arrest him. Glik had brought a lawsuit against the city (aided by the ACLU) because he claimed his civil rights were violated. According to today's ACLU statement: 'As part of the settlement, Glik agreed to withdraw his appeal to the Community Ombudsman Oversight Panel. He had complained about the Internal Affairs Division's investigation of his complaint and the way they treated him. IAD officers made fun of Glik for filing the complaint, telling him his only remedy was filing a civil lawsuit. After the City spent years in court defending the officers' arrest of Glik as constitutional and reasonable, IAD reversed course after the First Circuit ruling and disciplined two of the officers for using "unreasonable judgment" in arresting Glik.'"
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Boston Pays Out $170,000 To Man Arrested For Recording Police

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  • Re:I just wish... (Score:5, Informative)

    by hey! (33014) on Tuesday March 27, 2012 @07:20PM (#39491137) Homepage Journal

    The precedent has *already* been set, and the City of Boston settled *as a result*.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 27, 2012 @07:21PM (#39491161)

    Simon Glik was only able to afford this because he's a lawyer and had the ACLU backing him up. The government is never in a hurry, and has no shame when it comes to spending someone else's funds.

  • Re:I just wish... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Moryath (553296) on Tuesday March 27, 2012 @07:52PM (#39491407)

    Not just that, cops are dumb as shit thugs [go.com] to start with.

    They're legally allowed to refuse to hire anyone "too smart" to do the job.

  • Freedom of the Press (Score:4, Informative)

    by cpu6502 (1960974) on Tuesday March 27, 2012 @07:56PM (#39491441)

    I can't believe this was ever an issue. Recording events as they happen, whether it's with a video, audio, or the old-fashioned pen-and-paper method, is a protected right under the first amendment of both the U.S. and most State Constitutions.

    And to the person who wished a precedent had been set? Here it is: http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/08/28/2030243/mass-court-says-constitution-protects-filming-on-duty-police [slashdot.org]

  • by dcollins (135727) on Tuesday March 27, 2012 @08:37PM (#39491699) Homepage

    Oh god, please. Compare to this case in Baltimore from just last month: BPD is hauled into court by the ACLU for routinely arresting people when they video police, under wiretapping statutes. Three days before the court hearing, BPD announces that they concede that people shouldn't be arrested for photography -- but within the same day, BPD are still arresting people taking video: except the charge has now magically changed to loitering.

    http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/crime/blog/bal-in-federal-hill-citizens-allowed-to-record-police-but-then-theres-loitering-20120211,0,3706866.story [baltimoresun.com]

    The police departments are very consciously corrupting the law to benefit themselves, doing everything they can to delay and obstruct justice, and prosecutors are helping them along. If they get definitively slapped down in court for one thing, then within 24 hours they come up with brand-new bogus legal readings and go on with their abusive behavior unchanged. This is not remotely a "decision beyond their capability" one-time accident.

  • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) on Tuesday March 27, 2012 @08:37PM (#39491707) Homepage Journal

    Child? I like how the pictures show him as a kid, not as an over 6 foot troubled 17 yo that needed help.

    I like how quickly you fell for a Stormfront scam [streetwisepundit.com].

  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Tuesday March 27, 2012 @09:16PM (#39492057) Journal

    It took five years because the party that was guilty of violating citizen's rights was stubbornly insisting that they "didn't do anything wrong", and then later on that they "didn't know it was wrong", and the court was forced to not only find whether there is any truth to their claims, but whether it can even serve as a plausible excuse - i.e. whether they could have reasonably not understood their obligations under the 1st Amendment. And the court, basically, ruled that they did not, and that the right that was infringed was clear and unambiguous. From the ruling [uscourts.gov]:

    In summary, though not unqualified, a citizen's right to film government officials, including law enforcement officers, in the discharge of their duties in a public space is a basic, vital, and well-established liberty safeguarded by the First Amendment. Accordingly, we hold that the district court did not err in denying qualified immunity to the appellants on Glik's First Amendment claim.

    (I recommend you actually read the full text of the ruling - it's not all that long, and the arguments are surprisingly clear and easy to follow)

  • by codegen (103601) on Tuesday March 27, 2012 @09:51PM (#39492315) Journal
    The guy is a family court lawyer. The settlement is $50,000 + lawyers fees (he was represented by the ACLU). The case is decisive in that Boston attempted to have the case dismissed base on limited immunity(i.e. can't sue police for doing their job). The trial court ruled against them (i..e. lawsuit can go ahead). The ruling was appealed and the appeal court handed down a ruling (pdf [uscourts.gov]) that left little doubt how the rest of the trial would go. The appeal court ruling said, in no uncertain terms, that the recording was legal, that it was not secret and Mr. Gliks rights were violated. Given that ruling on a motion to dismiss, there is no way the city would go ahead with a lower trial that would just confirm what the appeals court already said, so they settled.
  • by codegen (103601) on Tuesday March 27, 2012 @10:06PM (#39492381) Journal

    If you mean "go the distance" as in set a precedent, then this case already did.

    Early in the trial, the city attempted a motion to dismiss on the ground of limited immunity(i.e. can't sue police for doing thier job in good faith). The Citiy's argument was that the wiretap law says you "can't record in secret" and since it wasn't clear that the phone was recording audio, then the audio part of the recording was secret, and therefore the was probable cause for the arrest, and thus limited immunity applied. The appeals court handed down a decision(pdf [uscourts.gov]) in 2011 that drew on over 10 years of precedents that said in no uncertain terms that it wasn't a secret recording, that Mr Glik had the right to record police in public and that any resonable person would have known this. Therefore the police cannot claim llimited immunity.

    Faced with such a strong appeals court ruling on the motion to dismiss, it was clear any trial would be lost by the City. So they settled.

    The 2011 dismissal appeal decision is a precedent, and has already been used as binding precedent in 1st circut, and as non-binding precedent in all of the other circuits on similar cases. There is one case, I have misplaced the link, where the lawsuit is for an incident that happened before the 2011 glik decision and the police are claiming that since the incident happened before the glik decision, they couldn't know that it was a civil rights violation to arrest someone for this. As far as I can tell, they aren't getting anywhere with that argument. The language of the glik decision makes it clear that it has always been a civil rights violation to arrest someone for openly recording the police in a public space.

  • Re:Amazing! (Score:5, Informative)

    by codegen (103601) on Tuesday March 27, 2012 @10:15PM (#39492439) Journal

    In the earlier appeal decision (a href="http://www.ca1.uscourts.gov/pdf.opinions/10-1764P-01A.pdf">pdf) on the motion to dismiss, page 24, the final two sentences are

    For the reasons set forth above, we affirm the district court's order denying appellants' claim of qualified immunity. So ordered.

    The defendents are the city of Boston and the three officers involved. The city may have chosen to shoulder the costs, but several cities in the first circuit have specifically sent out warnings to thier police officers that they may be personally held liable for false arrests arising from public recording

Nothing is more admirable than the fortitude with which millionaires tolerate the disadvantages of their wealth. -- Nero Wolfe

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