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Qualified Immunity is Still a Hurdle to Filming Police

— September 15, 2022

It’s generally accepted that citizens may film police as long as they are not interfering with the officers performing their duties.

Over the past year, Colorado’s approach to policing has changed considerably. A Supreme Court decision on “qualified immunity” could have had a drastic effect on law enforcement in this state had the court accepted if for review. However, it did not and the decision of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals stands. All of these changes have the power to affect how police brutality lawsuits are handled in this state for the foreseeable future. It goes without saying that police brutality has been a major focus for many states across the nation, and Colorado’s recent changes are just a small part of that greater trend. 

If you have experienced police brutality in Colorado, it makes sense to get in touch with a qualified, experienced police brutality attorney as soon as possible. These legal professionals can guide you towards a positive legal outcome. They can also ensure that negligent officers are held accountable for their misconduct. While changing government policies are definitely helping in the battle against police brutality, sometimes it falls to average citizens to spark real change. A lawsuit is one of the best ways to accomplish this. 

Controversial Denver Arrest

In September of 2021, it was reported that the Supreme Court was reviewing an important case involving a citizen’s right to film police officers. Time and time again, we have seen police brutality caught on tape by average, concerned citizens who are using their devices to film what they believe to be acts of misconduct. That was exactly what happened when a citizen recorded what he believed to be police brutality in Denver. A man was being taken into custody when another motorist was asked to help restrain the struggling man. 

However, after assisting the officers, this individual noticed that they were continuing to physically assault the suspect even after he was restrained. He took out his device and started to film the incident. He managed to show the video to the Denver Police Department and the media, and this led to a significant change in the department’s use-of-force policy. 

Later, the individual who filmed the incident sued, claiming his First Amendment rights had been violated when the officers asked him to turn over his computer tablet or face arrest. The petition to bring this case before the Supreme Court was denied.

Attorney Video Tapes Defendant's Mouth Being Taped Shut
Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

It’s generally accepted that citizens may film police as long as they are not interfering with the officers performing their duties. The question the Supreme Court could have decided but declined to do so is that of “qualified immunity.” This doctrine protects police from liability unless they clearly violated someone’s constitutional rights. 

Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today

If you have been searching the Denver area for a qualified, experienced police brutality attorney, there are many legal professionals available to help you. Team up with one of these professionals, and you can approach your police brutality lawsuit in a confident, efficient manner. While actions from the Supreme Court and Colorado’s various municipalities are certainly encouraging, the true battle against police brutality is handled by average citizens like you who are willing to stand up and make their voices heard. Book your consultation today. 

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