Is It Illegal To Record Police Officers In North Carolina?

The answer is NO! Not only is it perfectly legal and okay to record police officers in North Carolina. It is not illegal to record police officers in North Carolina. I think it’s a great idea to record police officers. Filming police officers should hopefully increase police accountability. Generally, when people know they are being recorded they are less likely to engage reckless or lawless activity. In addition when police officers are being recorded most of them probably won’t abuse their power or act in a way that one would consider police brutality.

This is a person recording police officers

What specific rights do I have?

  • Legally you have the right to record anything in a public place, aside from bathrooms, dressing rooms, anywhere where people are likely to be naked and there is some expectation of privacy, ETC. Essentially you can record or any public street, public store, in your car, in police stations, city council meetings, generally almost any public place except those noted above.
  • You have the right to ask for the name of police officers, or any identifying information about them such as their badge numbers.
  • You can also ask that the police officer call their supervisor.

Okay so I know I can record police officers in North Carolina but what can’t I do?

  • You can’t interfere with a police investigation or otherwise attempt to intervene in some police interaction.
  • You can’t remain in an area after a police officer tells you to move or step back. Generally when police officers tell you to move or step back they just want you to remain at a safe distance between them and the suspect.

What can’t police officers do while I’m recording?

  • They cannot tell you not to record.
    • They probably will but you don’t have to stop.
  • Police officers can’t take your phone away from you or ask to search your phone.
    • If they do you should remind them of your Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure; therefore, they’ll need a warrant to confiscate, search your phone, or look at the video you recorded.

If you have any questions regarding your rights to record police officers you should consult with a Salisbury, North Carolina attorney and contact us today. Just remember it is not illegal to record police officers in North Carolina, and don’t let anyone tell you differently.

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