The Illinois House and Senate passed an amendment that may provide law enforcement some protection against being recorded, according to ibtimes.com
This counters a law that was struck down earlier this year. A 50-year-old Illinois eavesdropping law was recently struck down in March 2014. Under the law, recording a conversation involving a cop was a Class 1 felony, with a possible 15-year prison term, according to the Chicago Tribune. The court ruled the 1962 law violated free speech and due process protections.
This law provided the citizens a powerful weapon in recording instances of illegal police practices.
According to TheBlaze.com, the Illinois legislature dodged that legal barricade after sending an amendment to Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn’s desk Dec. 4.
The legislation makes it a felony to record a “private conversation,” which it defines as “oral communication between two or more persons” in which at least one person has a “reasonable expectation” of privacy.
The amendment doesn’t clearly define what a “reasonable expectation” is and may prevent citizens from recording police encounters due to the fear of being charged with a felony, according to the Illinois Police Institute, an independent research and education organization that focuses on personal freedom and prosperity.
IPI reports there are severe penalties for violating this law. Recording conversations with the police could result in a minimum of two years in prison with a maximum of four years (class 3 felony).
The passing of this law drew a fiery response from King Louie.
“#F-ckSh-t #WakeUpPeople,” captioned his IG post.
Illinois Democratic Senators Kwame Raoul and Elaine Nekritz wrote the bill.
Elaine Nekritz (l), Kwame Raoul
Discussion of police brutality exploded following the deaths of Ferguson, MO teen Mike Brown and New Yorker Eric Garner. Police shootings don’t usually receive as much coverage. But Brown’s death triggered much debate on law enforcements’ use of deadly force on citizens, particularly people of color.
Many police shootings have sparked cries of racism.
USA Today learned of racial disparities in police shootings and found a white police officer was involved in the killing of a black person nearly two times a week in the United States from 2005 to 2012.
The findings reportedly show 18 percent of blacks killed during those seven years were under age 21, compared to 8.7 percent of whites. This figures means blacks in this age demographic are 50 percent more likely to be killed by police than whites.
(Source: USA Today)
(Source: USA Today)
Police brutality doesn’t occur in just Ferguson and New York. Police target African Americans more often than whites, especially in Chicago.
Top Shotta and Hella Bandz associates were the unfortunate victims of harassment by the Chicago Police Department during a September music video shoot.
Cell phone footage surfaced, courtesy of camerawoman Dutchess, showing officers armed with assault rifles ordering Shotta and crew onto a fence.
Shotta revealed police conducted a search without a warrant on the victims present and his grandmother’s home.
“This what we gotta deal with, America,” Dutchess said as she made her way to the fence.
“Look at them patting down young black men,” she continued. “Didn’t give a probable cause.”
An officer then can be heard threatening to arrest a young lady for “jaw jacking.” The same officer approached Dutches and ordered her to stop filming.
“Turn your phone off,” he said. “You’re not allowed to videotape.”
“That’s one of my rights,” Dutchess replied.
“You’re under arrest then,” the officer said before the footage is cut off.
Dutchess was detained and later released, Shotta revealed.
The Hella Bandz frontman said police arrived while he was filming the last scene to his “Hot N*gga” remix music video. The track will appear on his upcoming “Mr. Shoot It Out On Halsted” mixtape.
The police, he said, claimed someone called about guns.
No weapons were found during the search.
Shotta revealed this wasn’t the first time police harassed him and family.
“I feel like they got it out for me and Mouse as well as other rappers when we bringing people out on a positive level,” he said. “…They found no weapons or anything the last eight times doing this.”
Shotta and company were then ordered to leave his grandmother’s block and warned they would be sent to jail if they came back.
An illegal search violates the Fourth Amendment. The Amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures and requires any warrant to be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause. This includes the stop-and-frisk method that is seen in the above video.
The officer violated Dutchess’ First Amendment Right by ordering her to stop filming. This isn’t the first time a CPD officer was caught on film ordering a Chicagoan to stop filming them.
Footage surfaced online in August showing Chicago police harassing two citizens, male and female, at a local park.
The footage in question was posted by the female victim on YouTube. The description in the video reads: “7 cars show up to Garfield Park where we giving free massage to community, & attempt to cuff us for speaking up for the community. Car 6408, goes against the Sargeant, said we posed a threat!”
In the footage, the sergeant explains to a massage therapist his decision to disperse a community get together at the park.
“What we’re trying to do is reduce crowds, reduce any potential for violence. So these guys out here drinking, smoking weed, stuff like that, that’s the potential for violence,” the officer said.”
The therapist attempts to reason with the officer.
“Everybody up here is like a family,” she said. “If we do see something that’s out of line, people speak up. This is like a community, so I don’t feel like it’s justified.
“You can be here,” she continued. “We don’t mind you guys getting out the car and walking up and down the blocks and engaging and interacting with us. We don’t mind that. We don’t want you to come here and say ‘Hey, everybody just leave.’ Because we have nowhere else to go. This is our last place to go where we feel safe.”
A female officer soon interrupts the conversation and takes the male victim’s cell phone.
“Where’s your ID at? Did I give you permission to record me?” she said as she handcuffs the victims.
The female victim further elaborated on the incident in the comment section of the video:
“They slapped the cuff on my arm, & that’s when I said WTF but not cursing, what is going on, Why am I being handcuffed for talking to you, & the Sarg says he didn’t know why they were doing that, & he found it aggressive & overzealous. They tried to ticket us for INTOXICATION & I refused the ticket because neither of us was intoxicated, the female cop got so pissed when the Sarg made her disregard the ticket! She told me to leave but still had my license in her possession. The Sarg walked back over the then ask her was she done with us, because he didnt want to leave us with the crazed woman!”
The officer was wrong in her attempt to confiscate the phone. It is legal in Illinois to record a police officer.
The Independent Police Review Authority investigates all police-involved shootings. The IPRA is currently investigating the police shooting death of Marlon Horton.
Horton, 28, was fatally shot Sept. 7, 2013 by an off-duty officer. Footage surfaced showing the deadly confrontation between Horton and two security officers.
The off-duty police officer, identified as Kenneth Walker, was working as a security guard in a Near West Side Chicago Housing Authority building when he confronted Walker. Horton was at the building attempting to pick up his girlfriend when he was turned away by Horton and a female security guard.
Horton urinated on the officer’s truck upon leaving the building resulting in another confrontation with the guards. Footage shows the two guards attacking Horton before gunning him down.
The family of Horton has since filed a lawsuit against the city.
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