Man arrested for recording police officer
Court/Assoc.: U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
Attorneys/Firms: Glen Downey (Healey & Hornack, P.C.)
The ACLU of Pennsylvania filed a lawsuit on July 19, 2012, on behalf of a Fayette County man who was arrested for using his cell phone to audio-record a police officer. The suit alleges that the Point Marion Police Department filed retaliatory charges against Gregory Rizer after he complained to the mayor about the officer, who confiscated his cell phone and detained him for recording the officer's aggressive questioning of his disabled friend. The charge was withdrawn by the district attorney and the cell phone was returned - without the recording.
Rizer was charged with violating the state wiretapping law, which forbids audio recording without the consent of all parties involved. According to the lawsuit, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled that the state's Wiretap Act does not apply if the person being recorded does not have a reasonable "expectation of privacy."
This lawsuit is part of a series aimed at stopping Philadelphia police officers' unlawful practice of arresting citizens in retaliation for observing the police performing their duties. To learn more about other police practice cases, visit aclupa.org/copwatch