The way cell phones are made these days, nearly every person has a camera in their pocket. But ,when do you have the right to take pictures and shoot video?
17 News checked into this after a viewer sent us video that raised the question.
According to local attorney David Stiles, any place you have the right to be, you have the right to film because there is no expectation of privacy. And, law enforcement officers are not allowed to stop you from taking video.
A video was taken by 17 News viewer Noe Delgado and sent to us. It shows what looks like mall security officers arresting someone. During the incident, the cell phone user is asked to "put that camera away." The user does so, but attorneys we spoke with said he doesn't have to.
"The law permits you to film things or to take photographs of things when there is no reasonable expectation of privacy on the part of the person being photographed," said Stiles.
You're expected to be seen by strangers at a shopping center. So by First Amendment rights, you're allowed to take video and pictures, just as places are allowed to record security video of you in their facility.
"I would say it's more unusual to be off camera at one of those facilities because of all the security cameras," said Stiles.
The same principal applies to public places like streets and restaurants. Law enforcement may ask you to put away your cell phone camera as a courtesy, but attorneys say, legally you don't have to.
"I don't think it's possible for a policeman to legally stop someone from photographing something that's taking place in front of their eyes in public," said Stiles.
That makes the statement "put down your phone" a request, not an order.
We contacted Valley Plaza Mall about the cell phone video of the arrest.
They could not comment on the incident, but referred us to their code of conduct, which prohibits acts that are disruptive.