In Illinois, recording a police officer could get you 15 years in jail 

The New York Times gets around to reporting on the outrageous use of privacy laws to prosecute people who record about police officers:

Christopher Drew is a 60-year-old artist and teacher who wears a gray ponytail and lives on the North Side. Tiawanda Moore, 20, a former stripper, lives on the South Side and dreams of going back to school and starting a new life.

About the only thing these strangers have in common is the prospect that by spring, they could each be sent to prison for up to 15 years.

“That’s one step below attempted murder,” Mr. Drew said of their potential sentences.

The crime they are accused of is eavesdropping.

The authorities say that Mr. Drew and Ms. Moore audio-recorded their separate nonviolent encounters with Chicago police officers without the officers’ permission, a Class 1 felony in Illinois, which, along with Massachusetts and Oregon, has one of the country’s toughest, if rarely prosecuted, eavesdropping laws.

“Before they arrested me for it,” Ms. Moore said, “I didn’t even know there was a law about eavesdropping. I wasn’t trying to sue anybody. I just wanted somebody to know what had happened to me.”

In the case of Moore, she was trying to report a sexual assualt by a police officer and recorded her conversation with internal affairs because she felt her complaint wasn't being taken seriously enough. The idea that you would be violating the law by recording a police officer on the clock and acting in an official capacity is just outrageous.

The whole New York Times article is well worth your time. Also, read more about the case of Christopher Drew from Radley Balko, who has been following these issues closely for years.

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Mark Hemingway

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