Civil liberties experts say Demint is part of a growing trend of citizen videographers getting arrested after trying to record police behavior.
It’s a backlash that comes as smartphones have made it easier than ever to make such recordings, which have become key evidence in high-profile cases of alleged excessive force, including the shooting of a fleeing suspect by an officer in South Carolina, the dragging of a Baltimore man into a police van, and the chokehold death of a New York City man on a Staten Island sidewalk.
“By all accounts the situation has gotten worse,” said Chris Dunn, associate legal director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. “People are more inclined to pull out their phones and record, but that is often met with a very bad response from police.”
Mickey Osterreicher, general counsel of the National Press Photographers Association, said he hears of “almost four incidents a week” in which police either harass, interfere or arrest citizens — not journalists — for shooting video. He notes this is occurring at the same time many police departments are deploying body cameras on officers.