ACLU Sues City of St. Charles and Police Over Recordings
ST. LOUIS - The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Missouri filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the city of St. Charles and its police officers over a First Amendment threat.
Last August, Kyle Hamilton used his mobile phone to document an interaction between police officers and a distraught woman on Main Street in St. Charles. The ACLU said a mounted police officer grabbed Hamilton by his shirt collar as he was recording. They said another officer threatened to arrest Hamilton, took his phone, viewed and deleted the recordings and then ordered Hamilton to leave.
"The First Amendment means less if police can grab and destroy a recording of them performing their duties in public," Tony Rothert, legal director of the ACLU of Missouri said.
Executive Director of the ACLU of Missouri, Jeffrey A. Mittman said, "The government works for us, so we have the right to record public officials to insure they are doing their job properly."
"The ACLU has a long history of defending this kind of check to prevent abuse of government power," Mittman added.
The ACLU is representing Hamilton. The complaint can be found on the ACLU of Missouri's website.