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Federal Judge Dings Eugene Police for Confiscating Camcorder

Fans of civil liberties in Oregon will be pleased to hear that a recent ruling will provide more protections against warrantless searches of electronic devices. We've previously reported on rulings that demonstrate the legality of filming on-duty police (PPR #55, etc), but now a federal judge has made it clear that the contents of your camcorder are protected from intrusion. Eugene environmental activist Josh Schlossberg was participating in a leafleting action in 2009 when he was arrested. Schlossberg began openly filming Sgt. Bill Solesbee of the Eugene Police Department as he approached. Solesbee used the the fact that Schlossberg was taping as grounds for arrest, charging him with "resisting arrest" and "intercepting communications."

Solesbee seized Schlossberg's camera. US Magistrate Judge Thomas Coffin focused on this fact, ruling "Solesbee violated Schlossberg's fourth amendment rights by searching the contents of his camera without a warrant."

A jury later awarded Schlossberg $5583 in damages and $232,000 in legal fees in a civil case. Eugene Police chief Pete Kerns also said "rulings between the time of the arrest and today changed his department's policy... Eugene police are discouraged from arresting people for the same offense" (Oregonian, January 30 and Eugene Register-Guard, March 27).


May, 2012
Also in PPR #56

Cops Kill Suicidal Man,
  Wound Others

  • Other Shootings in Oregon
JTTF Report a Disappointment
CRC Appeal Supports Cops
Charter Commision Omits Oversight
Two Forums Highlight Misconduct
Over-Policing of Occupy Continues
Homeless Continue to be Targeted
More PervoCops
Judge Rules Against Eugene Cop
Cops Focus on Racism Issues
  • Road Rage Cop Not Guilty
  • Bogus "Fitness" Bonus and Drug Tests

Quick Flashes
  • Taser Incident Costs City $200,000
  • Cop Psychologist Re-Hire Limited
  • Skateboarder Settles
  • $55,000 Award For Excessive Force

Rapping Back #56

Portland Copwatch
PO Box 42456
Portland, OR 97242
(503) 236-3065/ Incident Report Line (503) 321-5120
e-mail: copwatch@portlandcopwatch.org

Portland Copwatch is a grassroots, volunteer organization promoting police accountability through citizen action.

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