Gericke v. Begin, No. 12-2326 (1st Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
After Plaintiff attempted to film a police officer as he was conducting a traffic stop, Plaintiff was arrested and charged with violating New Hampshire’s wiretapping statute, among other crimes. Plaintiff was not brought to trial. Plaintiff subsequently brought a First Amendment claim against the police officers, the police department, and the Town of Weare, alleging that the wiretapping charge constituted retaliatory prosecution. The officers moved for summary judgment, claiming that they were entitled to qualified immunity because there was no clearly established right to film the traffic stop. The district court denied the officers’ motions for summary judgment. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) it was clearly established at the time of the stop that the First Amendment gives citizens the right to film police carrying out their duties in public if no reasonable restriction is imposed or in place; and (2) therefore, the district court properly denied qualified immunity to the officers on Plaintiff’s claim that the wiretapping charge constituted retaliatory prosecution in violation of the First Amendment.