The ACLU filed the lawsuit a few years ago on behalf of three people who were mistreated by LASD deputies for taking pictures in public places. As part of the settlement, the LASD has agreed to issue a newsletter that makes clear that "Members of the public have the right to take photographs and record video of peace officers engaged in the public discharge of their duties, including in such activities as
detentions, searches and arrests, so long as the members of the public are in a place
they have a legal right to be present" and that "Officers should assume they are being recorded at all times when on duty."
Moreover, the LASD has agreed to train its deputies about the contents of the newsletter. In the future, deputies should understand that so long as someone using his or her cell phone to engage in photographing brutality is not breaking the law, directly interfering with police actions or jeapardizing anyone's safety, LASD deputies are not allowed to arrest that person, detain that person, order that person to stop, make him justify his activities or demand her identification. Further, deputies can't delete or destroy the footage or demand that the person show them the footage without a warrant.
Citizen journalists -- brave men and women who use their cell phones to record incidents of police brutality -- play a huge role in exposing police misconduct. The examples are too numerous to mention, but think of the role video played in exposing the police brutality inflicted against Rodney King, Oscar Grant and Eric Garner. These new rules will help citizens provide critical oversight of LASD activities and hopefully deter future misconduct.