A Montana cop insisted it was illegal to video record him in public, even going as far as to cite a code in the Montana Code Annotated, which lists the state’s criminal offenses as well as other legal provisions.
However, the Dillon police officer told the citizen that he was violating Code 45, a very broad criminal code that includes several contempt of cop charges as well as more serious crimes, not to mention crimes committed by public servants.
Upon further review of Code 45, we can assume he was referring to Code 45-8-213, titled the “Privacy in Communications,” which is Montana’s wiretapping law, which only makes it a crime if the recording was done with a hidden device or without warning.
The fact that the man in the video was openly recording, which is why the cop noticed he was being recorded, even in complete darkness, is enough evidence to show no law was broken.
In fact, if anybody was violating Code 45, it was the cop. Specifically, 45-7-401 (1) (c), the “official misconduct” code, which states the following:
(1) A public servant commits the offense of official misconduct when in an official capacity the public servant commits any of the following acts: (c) with the purpose to obtain a personal advantage or an advantage for another, performs an act in excess of the public servant’s lawful authority;
After all, it was obvious the cop was using his authority as a cop to intimidate the citizen into complying with an unlawful order.
A video taken by a bystander, filming a Dillon police officer telling the civilian that his video taping him was illegal. Which it is NOT. And saying right before the bystander turned his camera off that “we’re going to talk”. It is NOT illegal in the state of Montana to video law enforcement if they in fact notify them that they are. Which he did. The bystander didn’t get fined or arrested for this supposed “violation of a MCA law”
But the fact that the video cuts out indicates the cop succeeded in getting him to stop recording.
The officer’s identity is not known at this time, but according to the department’s website, they only have a handful of officers on staff, listed below, so it shouldn’t be that hard to find out.
Call the Dillon Police Department at (406) 683-3701.