The videotaping-cops controversy comes to Indiana:
SOUTH BEND — The recent arrest of a University of Notre Dame student for allegedly fighting with police after trying to videotape a crime scene has raised questions about the legality of recording crime events.
Police say it is increasingly common for people to videotape crime scenes, especially as cell phones and pocket-sized camcorders become more popular.
But if doing so interferes with police work, then police will tell them to stop, as they did with Benjamin Ashenburg on Aug. 29.
Glenn Reynolds has been collecting stories nationwide about police who try to stop the taping of their activities. More often than not, the cases involve a pretty clear abuse of power. Police are public employees doing the public's business, so their activities should be open to public scrutiny.
But police actions seem to be more reasonable in this case. The crime was not in public but in a priavte residence where excise police had taken control, and there was a fear that undercover officers could be exposed by the taping. As Hoosier State Press general counsel Steve Key notes in the story, the law recognizes the need for protecting such officers.
But as Key also notes, police sometimes try to prohibit taping because "they know their actions might not look good on film." And the "interfering with a police investigation" charge is too general to always be taken at face value.