Baiting the Police: Response to Constitutionally Protected Activity [2023]

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Course Author(s)

Ben Kontaxes J.D.

Course Summary

Today, nearly every person has a video camera with them at all times in the form of a smartphone. Many of these phones have comparable video recording capability as professional production cameras had a few years ago. Today, citizen activists are filming encounters between police and suspects. In this context, the federal courts have been highly protective of the rights of citizens to film police officers in public places.

This course includes many videos illustrating the sad fact that law enforcement officers have to use their de-escalation skills to avoid losing control in constitutionally-protected settings.  Helpful suggestions are demonstrated to allow the officer to maintain professionalism when responding to first amendment audits, open carry/second amendment audits, political advocacy, street evangelism and group protest calls.

Everyone an officer meets is battling something unknown. So, officers must remember to be polite – being a professional means coming to a successful conclusion with someone you dislike. It means being mature enough to tolerate dislike towards them long enough to get the job done.  While the highly vocal individual may be obnoxious, they still have Constitutional Amendment Rights which must be protected.  This course will help officers keep this in mind while tactically reducing the volatility of the call to avoid becoming an unintended internet villain.

Course Syllabus

  • Police Response to Constitutionally Protected Activity

    • Introduction and Example
    • First and Second Amendment Audits
    • Second Amendment Audit Example
    • Political Advocacy, Street Evangelism, Group Protests
    • Pitfalls and Details
    • Time, Place, and Manner Restrictions
    • Recording Police, Behavior of Officers
    • Final Example: For Your Sake, Know The Law
    • Assessment