Are You Allowed To Record Video Of Police in NJ?

Are you allowed to record video of police?

In one word, YES.

As the New Jersey American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Legal Director, Ed Barocas said, “holding that camera up to police officers is very much protected by the First Amendment and common law.”

According to Robert W. Fox, president of the New Jersey State Fraternal Order of Police, police should face the realities of cellphone footage.

​”We tell our officers…that, anything they do, consider themselves being filmed,” Fox said. “No matter where you are anymore, there is some sort of video on the incident – whether it comes from a building camera or an individual cellphone or things like that.”

Are Cell Phone Videos Protecting Citizens In New Ways?

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New Jersey’s ACLU Promotes
​A New App To Keep Police Accountable

According to New Jersey’s ACLU, citizens can now hold the police accountable using the ACLU of New Jersey’s smartphone app. It lets you film the police and send the footage directly to ACLU of New Jersey staff to evaluate civil rights and civil liberties violations.

The app is called MobileJustice and people an download it on Android and Apple iOS devices.
Mobile Justice lets you:

  • Record audio and video using the app or phone buttons
  • Send recordings to the ACLU, even if the phone is later seized or broken
  • Share location with nearby MobileJustice users for strength in numbers
  • Operate the phone with a locked screen, which helps retain the footage even if police seize the phone
The NJ ACLU explains, “Communities across the U.S. continue to suffer from over-policing, racial profiling and excessive use of force. Empowered by the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, the Mobile Justice NJ app is one way you can put a check on law enforcement misconduct wherever, whenever.”

With this app you can also:​

  • ​​​Record and submit incidents directly and securely to your local ACLU of New Jersey affiliate using your phone camera.
  • Get instant location alerts from fellow app users witnessing incidents nearby.
  • Know your rights when encountering or witnessing an incident with law enforcement, and access the ACLU’s full library of “Know Your Rights” materials at the click of a button.
  • Keep up-to-date on local and statewide actions and events hosted by the ACLU.
New Jersey’s ACLU is one of the first states in the country to offer this technology.

Know Your Rights

Whether you are a Photographer, Journalist or Bystander, if you intend to photograph or video record anything, the NJ ACLU recommends that you familiarize yourself with the following:
  • When in public spaces, where you are lawfully present, you have the right to photograph anything in plain view.
  • Police officers may not confiscate or demand to view your digital photographs or video without a warrant.
  • Police may not delete your photographs or video under any circumstances.
  • Police officers may legitimately order citizens to cease activities that are truly interfering with legitimate law enforcement operations.
  • If you are stopped or detained for taking photographs, remain polite and never physically resist a police officer.
Always remember safety first! Do not interfere with the police investigation. Always remain polite and never resist a police officer or obstruct justice.
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