On February 1, 2010, a Massachusetts citizen arrested for videotaping police practices filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and relevant state law, against the City of Boston and several police officers. The plaintiff, represented by an ACLU attorney and private counsel, sought monetary relief, alleging that the City of Boston failed to properly supervise, discipline, or train Boston police officers, which resulted in the plaintiff's being falsely arrested. He further claimed that the false arrest violated his rights under the First and the Fourth Amendments of the United States Constitution.
The defendant police officers arrested the plaintiff for his using of digital video camera to record their arrest of a young man in a park. One charge against the plaintiff was violation of the state wiretap statute. The judicial court dismissed the charge subsequently, because a conviction under the state wiretap statute required the recording to be secret, and the police officers admitted that the plaintiff's recording was not.
On February 5, 2010, the plaintiff amended his complaint. On June 8, 2010, the Court (Judge William G. Young) denied the defendants' motion to dismiss the case after a hearing. Judge Young denied the defendant police officers' qualified immunity from both the plaintiff's First and Fourth Amendment claims. The defendants filed an interlocutory appeal to the First Circuit.
On June 29, 2010, Judge Young denied the defendants' motion to stay proceedings in the District Court pending appeal. On the same day, the case was reassigned to Magistrate Judge Leo T. Sorokin upon both parties' consent. The Court of Appeals grant a motion to stay on August 4, 2010.
On August 26, 2011, the Circuit Court (Judge Kermit V. Lipez) affirmed the lower court's ruling that denied the defendant police officers' qualified immunity from the plaintiff's constitutional claims. Glik v. Cunniffe, 655 F.3d 78 (1st Cir. 2011). In the opinion, Judge Lipez found that the First Amendment protected the plaintiff in filming the on-duty police officers in public and that his right to film in this case was clearly established. The defendant police officers lacked probable cause to arrest the plaintiff, thus violating his Fourth Amendment rights, and the lack of probable cause was clearly established, defeating the defendants' asserted qualified immunity from suit.
(On September 27, 2011, the plaintiff in Strahan v. Rowley, Docket No. 1:11-cv-11235, filed a motion to consolidate his case with this case. The Strahan case was then assigned to Magistrate Judge Sorokin as well. Both the plaintiff and the defendants in this case filed oppositions to the consolidation on October 11, 2011. Magistrate Judge Sorokin denied the motion to consolidate cases on December 20, 2011, docketed only in the Strahan case.)
On January 19, 2012, on remand from the First Circuit, the parties requested mediation and the case was referred to Alternative Dispute Resolution, with Chief Magistrate Judge Judith G. Dein appointed as the mediator. On March 5, 2012, the parties reached a settlement through the mediation. The defendants agreed to pay $170,000 to the plaintiff for damages, attorneys' fees and litigation costs. The lawsuit was subsequently dismissed. This ended the case.
For more information, please see the ACLU's website
.Emma Bao - 06/21/2013