Can You Tape A Police Officer Making An Arrest?

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A screen grab from the video on YouTube
A screen grab from the video on YouTube

A video on YouTube that shows police arresting a 16-year-old boy at Roxbury Community College has now been viewed about 100,000 times.

Many viewers have found the officers' use of force in the arrest disturbing. Others have defended the police and have said that the video may not tell the whole story.

We're going to focus on a different moment, which occurs about four minutes into the shaky cell phone video.

An officer approaches the woman taking the video, holds up his hand, and says, "You can't record." She feigns to comply for a moment, and then resumes recording as the officer walks away. The videographer was not arrested or escorted away or forced to give up her phone.

But in recent years, Boston police have arrested people for recording police officers in public. Is that legal? We ask.


  • Sarah Wunsch, attorney, ACLU of Massachusetts
  • Tom Nolan, professor of criminal justice, Boston University, 27-year veteran of the Boston Police Department


This program aired on November 1, 2010.


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