Atlanta Police Department Found in Contempt of Court
Houston, TX -- (ReleaseWire) -- 05/21/2015 --On May 13, 2015, a federal judge ordered sanctions against the Atlanta police in a case involving the public's right to videotape police actions. The Atlanta police department was found in contempt of court when it violated a 2012 order stemming from a 2009 arrest.
2009: Woman Arrested for Photographing Police
The recent sanction stems back all the way to a 2009 case when a woman, Felicia Anderson, was arrested when she exercised her right to peaceably photograph police activity. After her arrest, Ms. Anderson sued the City of Atlanta. In 2012, a settlement was reached between Anderson's and the city's lawyers: the city was to revise and implement Atlanta police department's policies and training procedures to ensure that citizens' rights to document police activity was upheld. Anderson was also awarded damages.
2014: Reporters Arrested for Documenting Police Activity
Despite the 2012 requirement that the Atlanta police department change their policies and training protocol, in 2014, a number of reporters had their cameras taken away and were arrested by police offices. The reporters, who were covering the Ferguson protests at the time of arrest, tried to explain to the police that they were journalists. However, the police continued to handcuff the individuals. The reporters filed a civil suit in response. Their attorneys will need to establish a burden of proof for punitive damages by providing convincing evidence to the court. More on punitive damages and establishing the burden of proof here: http://www.simmonsandfletcher.com/injury-law/burden-proof.
Federal Judge Finds Atlanta Police Department in Contempt of Court
The 2014 arrest of journalists filing protest coverage didn't go unnoticed. And this week, a federal judge found that the Atlanta police department was being held in contempt of court for its violation of the 2012 stipulations. As such, sanctions against the department have been imposed.
Sanctions Imposed Against Atlanta Police Department
The sanctions ordered against the Atlanta Police Department are extensive. The department will be responsible for:
- Implementing revisions made to the department's operating procedures in 2012;
- Conducting in-person training of every Atlanta police department officer per the 2012 requirement;
- Requiring that all Atlanta Police Department Officers sign the Consent Order within 45 days;
- Prove in-person roll-call training with 45 days;
- Pay a $10,000 fine per day if requirements are not met within the 45-day allotment;
- Film training and submit it to the court;
- Report any revisions to operations procedures within five days; and
- Reimburse the plaintiff's counsel for relevant fees.
Upholding Citizens' Rights in Atlanta
The ability of citizens to film police officers is a constitutional right. Like other citizens' rights, a violation of documenting police behavior is unacceptable. If you've been arrested and you believe that your constitutional rights have been violated, speak with an attorney immediately.
About SIMMONS & FLETCHER, P.C.
SIMMONS & FLETCHER, P.C. is a Christian law firm based in Houston, Texas. We specialize in personal injury, accident, and liability law. Our lawyers are board certified personal injury trial attorneys, with a commitment to serving personal injury victims with dedication and passion.