Americans’ right to record should be celebrated

I applaud The Daily Illini on your column addressing the “right to record” enjoyed by American citizens. Although the law on this issue is complex and state dependent, it’s important to remember that the public is a critical element of the checks and balances system meant to moderate the behavior of those in power. Police departments need to view people with smartphones as their toughest critics, not as criminals. Positive steps forward on this issue will involve the mutually beneficial use of video and audio and a recognition of the public as a legitimate regulator of police behavior. Such a recognition is the only way to make “serve and protect” more than lip service. The city of Atlanta recently installed a large number of centrally managed surveillance cameras to help the police monitor its streets. Why aren’t American citizens allowed to do the same on a small scale?

Michael Evans,

graduate student