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DA: Videotaping an exchange with officers is within a citizen's rights

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PITTSBURGH - District Attorney Stephen Zappala announced Monday that it’s within a citizen’s right to video record an incident involving a police officer.

Zappala reminded citizens that it’s their First Amendment right to record an officer.

With that in mind, Zappala said all officers in Allegheny County will soon undergo training for what to do and what not to do when someone is videotaping.

Some of the guidelines include not taking the camera from the person, not trying to erase what they record and don’t try to prevent someone from videoing.

“The important thing, from my perspective, is to make sure the officer understands that there are constitutional rights in play and those have to be protected,” Zappala said. “That’s why we’re in the position we’re in, to protect people’s rights.”

Zappala said the person videoing does not have the right to antagonize an officer.

If you videotape an officer, Zappala said it’s illegal for an officer to arrest you for doing so. Zappala encourages you to do what the officer asks and his office will handle the matter.