Crime & Law Enforcement Issues & Death Penalty/Is this correct in the USA


“As a basic principle, we can’t tell you to stop recording,” says Delroy Burton, chairman of D.C.’s metropolitan police union and a 21-year veteran on the force. “If you’re standing across the street videotaping, and I’m in a public place, carrying out my public functions, [then] I’m subject to recording, and there’s nothing legally the police officer can do to stop you from recording.”

“What you don’t have a right to do is interfere,” he says. “Record from a distance, stay out of the scene, and the officer doesn’t have the right to come over and take your camera, confiscate it.”

Officers do have a right to tell you to stop interfering with their work, Burton told me, but they still aren’t allowed to destroy film.

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This is correct in the USA, but each state may have subtle variations in what it means to “not” having the right to interfere. You're asking a great question, but please know all "principles" are always open to interpretation. Interfering could mean that the act of videotaping alone, even at a safe distance away, is encouraging others to behave differently by knowing they’re being videotaped.

Interfering could mean that the person(s) who are videotaping, even at a safe distance away, may be placing themselves in danger related to the events wanting to be videotaped. Lastly, the individual police officer(s) may have different interpretations of what is allowed/disallowed in regards to videotaping. From a psychological standpoint, law enforcement serves to manage a stressful or potentially dangerous situation. Only the seasoned law enforcement official is capable of maintaining objectivity during an event that may cause harm to the community that they serve.    

My recommendations are to know the legal statutes in the state you’ll be videotaping. Lastly, rule out all possible ways that law enforcement could say you can’t videotape. Good luck.

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Dr. Michael Nuccitelli


criminal profiling, cyber bullying, cyber stalking, cybercrime, cyber terrorism, online sexual predators, child predators, Internet safety, psychopathology, criminal & forensic psychology and cyber psychology.


Dr. Michael Nuccitelli is a New York State licensed psychologist and certified forensic consultant. He completed his doctoral degree in clinical psychology in 1994 from the Adler School of Professional Psychology in Chicago, Illinois. In 1997, Dr. Nuccitelli became a licensed psychologist in New York State (License # 013009.) In 2006, he received the Certified Forensic Consultant designation from the American College of Forensic Examiners (Identification # 103110.) Dr. Nuccitelli has developed a theoretical construct, iPredator, which encapsulates all online users who use Information and Communications Technology to abuse, harm, steal from or disparage other online users. His theory of iPredator is recognized by the American College of Forensic Examiners International. Prior to launching iPredator Inc., Dr. Nuccitelli worked in his community as a Forensic Psychologist working with the court system, law enforcement and attorneys.

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Dr. Nuccitelli is a New York State Licensed Psychologist and certified forensic consultant designated by the American College of Forensic Examiners International.

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