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Seattle passes ordinance to allow recording of police

UPDATED: Tue., May 23, 2017

Seattle police officers stage near a May Day protest Monday, May 1, 2017, in Seattle. (Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)
Seattle police officers stage near a May Day protest Monday, May 1, 2017, in Seattle. (Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)
Associated Press

SEATTLE – People in Seattle now have a legal right to record encounters between the police and civilians.

The Seattle Times reported that the City Council voted Monday to enshrine in the Seattle Municipal Code the rights of the public to observe, record and criticize police activity without fear of retaliation.

The First Amendment can offer protections to the public when they watch and record police, and a 2008 Seattle police policy says bystanders can record an incident if they don’t interfere.

So, people already were allowed to watch and record police in Seattle. But the council’s vote means the rights of police observers are now recognized in city law.

The ordinance says officers should assume members of the public are observing and possibly recording their work at all times.

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