St Louis, MO – The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals went against all other federal appeals courts and issued a decision that says recording the police in public settings is not a First Amendment right.
The ruling happened in late July, in their decision in the Akins vs. Knight case, according to KRCG. The court’s decision upheld a 2004 District Court ruling that said “Neither the public nor the media has a First Amendment right to videotape, photograph, or make audio recordings of government proceedings that are by law open to the public.”
The 8th Circuit Appeals Court’s decision was called the decision of a “rogue court,” by Akins’ attorney Stephen Wyse, because it stands alone.
Every single other federal court ruling on the issue within the last 20 years has established that 1st Amendment right to record police officers as long as they are performing public duties.
In the Akins case, a man named Mark Akins created the anti-police group “Citizens for Justice,” because of his alleged ‘mistreatment’ at the hands of the Columbia PD. The group has as a stated goal to monitor police activity.
During some type of group event, fellow protester Marion Jordan asked Akins to film Jordan handing a Columbia police officer a list of alleged grievances that he had with the police department. Police officers asked Akins to stop filming, and he did. But Jordan included the incident in his case of mistreatment by the CPD.
Wyse filed a motion for a rehearing on Tuesday, August 8, but said he didn’t think anything would come of it. He and Akins said that they plan to appeal to the Supreme Court if their lower case appeals are not successful.
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