Illinois lawmakers have defeated a measure to allow private citizens to record police officers on the job. The measure’s sponsor says it’s a matter of First Amendment rights: public employees performing public jobs in public spaces shouldn’t expect any level of privacy. But State Rep. Dena Carli (D-Chicago), a Chicago Police sergeant, doesn’t see it that way.
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“Citizens distracting these officers, even more than they could possibly be distracted in the situations that they’re in, would be such a harm to these officers,” she says. The measure failed, but a Cook County judge this month ruled the state’s eavesdropping law unconstitutional – which means this issue could be decided in court. The current law makes it a felony to record a police officer while he or she is performing official duties.