Right to Record Police Clearly Established in Fifth Circuit

In February, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decided in favor of Phillip Turner in Turner v. Driver. Turner was handcuffed and placed in a patrol car after refusing to identify himself when approached by police officers. The officers had approached him because he was video recording a Fort Worth police station from a public sidewalk.

The Court opined, “We conclude that First Amendment principles, controlling authority, and persuasive precedent demonstrate that a First Amendment right to record the police does exist, subject only to reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions.”  Turner v. Driver, 16-10312, *10 (5th Cir. Feb. 16, 2017).  See also id., at *12 (“Filming the police contributes to the public’s ability to hold the police accountable, ensure that police officers are not abusing their power, and make informed decisions about police policy…Protecting the right to film the police promotes First Amendment principles.”).

Congratulations are due to NPAP member attorney Meagan Hassan of Houston's Demond & Hassan, PLLC for her work with cocounsel securing this meaningful victory on behalf of the People of Texas.