| Humor |

Carl Paul Arrested By Florida Cops Who Still Believe Filming Police Is Illegal

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Miami and help keep the future of New Times free.

According to some cops right here in South Florida, the simple act of pointing a camera at a police officer on the job is a crime. Here's the absurd theory: In Florida, it's illegal to record someone without consent; therefore, filming a cop without his permission is a crime.

Never mind that courts have repeatedly said there's no expectation of privacy on public streets, or that arresting people for filming police is a move straight out of Stalinist Moscow -- Palm Beach County sheriffs arrested another 21-year-old man yesterday for daring to film his traffic stop on an iPhone.

Carl Paul, who lives in Pompano Beach, was driving in Lantana just after midnight on Monday when a Palm Beach deputy pulled him over.

Paul began questioning the cop why he was being pulled over and "repeatedly asked for their names," according to the Palm Beach Post.

When the officers noticed Paul was filming the whole encounter on his iPhone, they demanded that he stop. Paul reasonably said he was simply "documenting what was happening," but the deputy apparently couldn't tolerate the thought of his traffic stop being recorded.

Paul was arrested and charged with "illegal interception of communication."

Really, Palm Beach Sheriff's Office? You're still playing this card?

Riptide called the office's media relations department and was told they would need to "research the issue" before they could comment on Paul's arrest.

Allow us to help you out. We wrote about the ongoing fight between cops and would be citizen journalists last year.

While the courts have yet to make a definitive ruling on a federal level, most legal experts agree that although Florida is a "two-party consent" state for recordings, the law has a clear exception for situations where there is no "expectation of privacy" -- for example, when a cop is working in the middle of a public street.

"It really is a perversion of this statute to try to apply it to filming or recording what public officials are doing in public," Randall Marshall, legal director of ACLU Florida, told us.

Indeed, as Carlos Miller points out at his blog today, the last time Palm Beach cops tried to book someone for filming them, the courts tossed it out.

Tasha Ford was arrested in Boynton Beach after she refused to stop filming police arresting her 16-year-old son at a movie theater.

Paul's case is every bit as absurd. No one should spend a night in jail just for documenting their own traffic stop.

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.

Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.