Can I Take a Picture of Police Making an Arrest?

Can I take a picture of Police Making an Arrest?

For certain the answer is yes. The issue is what will the police officers do to you once they see you taking the picture, and what remedy you have against the police? There are two separate actions the police can take that may be actionable. If they assault you and/or break your camera. If they can arrest you for something.

If the police assault you, you have a claim for excessive force against the officers.

If the police arrest you, you have a claim for malicious prosecution.

In either instance, you may have a Monell Claim, that the police are failing to train their officers that people can photograph them arresting people.

I would guess the most common claim for these cases is some type of malicious prosecution where the plaintiff is being charged with disorderly conduct and winds up beating the case. The problem is that for a disorderly conduct only, the case is probably not worth much money. However, an Order from a judge directing the police to better train the officers on photographs and a cash award would be a very good outcome.


Monell Claim

Monell Claim

Does anyone ever win a Monell Claim?

A Monell Claim gives you a cause of action agains the government for failure to train and supervise. These are very hard to win. In our experience, when we have a valid Monell Claim, the defendants fold almost immediately and offer to settle.

A great example of a clear Monell Claim is the case of the Philadelphia narcotics offers charged in federal court. In that case, the officers are accused of doing terrible things to people they arrested from beating them, stealing from them, locking people in trunks of cars, holding people for ransom, tying people to chairs until they gave them money or jewelry, etc. Hundreds of complaints had been made about the officers over a period of time, yet they were still allowed to be on the force. No cameras or video cameras were ever used in their cases. The hire-ups within the police force did little if anything to supervise this group of narcotics officers, and for that matter, all special narcotics officers. Also, the district attorney stopped prosecuting arrests they made, and withdrew prosecution on many previous convicted individuals.

In this case, a Monell Claim is clear. However, how the city defends the matter will unfold in the coming months. The names of the officers are Licardello, Betts, Speiser, Spicer, Reynolds, Norman, and Walker. If any of these officers falsely arrested you, contact us now for a free consultation. Also, if you have a case similar to the narcotics officers’ cases listed above, contact us to discuss how we can help you.

The answer is clear, if you have the right Philadelphia Civil Rights Lawyer fighting for you, yes, you can win a Monell Claim.