In Chicago, think twice before you record a police officer.
Just ask Tiawanda Moore, who challenged the conduct of a police officer who was called to her home because of a domestic dispute.
Her troubles started when police arrived and placed Moore and her significant other in separate areas for questioning. Moore claims that during the questioning in her bedroom, the officer came on to her, groped her breasts and slipped her his home phone number.
According to a story in the Huffington Post, Moore and her boyfriend attempted to report the incident to internal affairs at the Chicago Police Department but were discouraged her from filing a report, her attorney, Robert Johnson, said.
Johnson said Chicago police tried to intimidate her from filing a report against the officer.
Moore, feeling frightened during an internal affairs discussion, used her Blackberry to record the meeting. Big mistake — in illinois, it is illegal to record people without their consent. The officers arrested her.
Moore’s case is proceeding through the system expeditiously, while the internal affairs complaint that led to the visit to the Chicago Police Department staggers in investigation mode.
Moore faces four to 15 years in prison because of recording her internal-affairs experience. She is fighting against her prosecution, and she has the support of a number of anti-domestic abuse groups, including the Chicago Task Force on Violence Against Girls & Young Women.
Moore’s experience is not uncommon. Citizens who record on-duty police officers often face arrest.
According to Radley Balko of the Huffington Post, “The media have largely done a poor job reporting on what the law actually is in these states. Technically, so long as a person isn’t physically interfering with an on-duty policer officer, its legal to record the officer in every state but Massachusetts and Illinois. Arrest still happen in other states, but there’s little legal justification for them, and the charges are usually dropped, or never filed at all.”
Moore is scheduled to go on trial Thursday.