THE AMERICAN Civil Liberties Union plans to file two federal lawsuits today against the Philadelphia Police Department for wrongfully arresting a journalism student for photographing a cop and a West Philly woman who was observing police action in 2011.
The latest filings will be the ACLU's third this year in which citizens have been arrested for videotaping, photographing or observing police activity. Another was filed in January. These suits also come a week after a Philadelphia woman sued the city after a cop allegedly beat and arrested her and a friend for videotaping an arrest two years ago.
"Certainly the right to observe police officers and their interaction with the public is at the core of what the First Amendment is supposed to protect," ACLU attorney Molly Tack-Hooper said, adding that the latest cases are not isolated. "The Philadelphia Police Department has arrested numerous people for filming. These are unconstitutional arrests."