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Man Records Officers Because he was 'Being Followed by 5 Cops,' Reports Say

A man reportedly used his phone to record police when they were at a post office. He said he tapes them because they're all "crooked," cops said. The arrest ties in with scrutiny of the Ill. Eavesdropping Act, which a judge is expected to rule on today.

Officers arrested a 53-year-old man at the Post Office last month who was allegedly recording them without their consent.

However, Steven M. Sorensen was not charged with eavesdropping for the reported offense. Rather, he faces one count of disorderly conduct. That's because the Illinois Eavesdropping Act, which bans the recording of public officials—among others—without their consent, is under fire today. A Cook County judge is expected to rule on its constitutionality

Police asked Sorensen, of the 18400 block of Perth Avenue in Homewood, to delete a recording he'd made of them driving and getting out of their cars, according to the report. An officer said that while he was on his way to the post office on Feb. 14, he noticed Sorensen holding his phone out of his van window.

"The subject responded that he is videotaping crooked cops," the report said, regarding Sorensen's answer why he was filming the officer. "I asked how I was crooked and he replied, 'Because you are following me.'"

The officer had a stack of letters in his hand to mail, he said. Sorensen insisted that he was  "being followed by five cops," according to the report.

Police asked him to delete the recording he'd made because he was violating the Illinois eavesdropping law. Sorensen refused to delete his recording or relinquish his phone. 

Officers took him into custody and asked the Cook County State's Attorney to review the possibility of filing felony eavesdropping charges, seeing as how the recording was taken on federal property.

"A discussion ensued regarding the law possibly changing and the current legislation," the report said, noting that the law has recently come under fire.

The eavesdropping charges were denied because of the law's scrutiny. Sorensen was instead charged with one misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct.

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nick March 02, 2012 at 05:23 PM
While you generally are permitted to photograph or record video of people without permission in most public places, it is illegal in Illinois to "videotape, photograph, or film" people without their consent in "a restroom, tanning bed, or tanning salon, locker room, changing room or hotel bedroom." 720 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/26-4(a)
Carrie Frillman March 02, 2012 at 05:47 PM
Thanks for posting that, Nick. The Illinois Eavesdropping Act is actually being challenged for its constitutionality. A Cook County judge is expected to rule on this today. I take it you feel it's constitutional?
Russ March 02, 2012 at 06:13 PM
Although ,there are occasions when taping law enforcement seems like a good idea,I don't believe Mr. Sorensen's conflict is one of those occasions.
concerned March 02, 2012 at 07:23 PM
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-judge-rules-eavesdropping-law-unconstitutional-20120302,0,4122460.story
frank March 02, 2012 at 07:41 PM
Hooray for the Constitution and one good Judge in Cook County. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Russ March 03, 2012 at 03:52 PM
Judge Stanley Sacks is the good judge. thank you, Judge Stanley
Dave March 04, 2012 at 12:28 AM
I think the eavesdropping law is mostly for audio only recordings. Unless, it was another eavesdropping law I've looked at in the past. I will have to hunt around for that law again in the ILCS if I have time. Also, performing public duties in public you should be expected to be recorded without consent because you are in public. Nothing private about being recorded outside. Another point though, which I think the police don't like a lot is these videos like the Occupy {i think} Wall Street video of the "police brutality", might be some reasoning of why. I find it interesting that the multiple videos on YouTube that have those videos up they only show the actual police action, but not the provocation of what the person who is being arrested was doing. I always like seeing the whole story, but things like this make others see something different. I think that may be some of the basis of why they say it is illegal to record a police officer.

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