This story was originally published by the WND News Center.
A federal judge is leaving a couple of Denver police officers on the hook in a case claiming wrongful arrest.
The Denver Gazette is reporting the judge is denying the officers immunity in a fight over a citizen’s right to record police.
District Judge Philip Brimmer issued a ruling rejecting the city’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by Kevin Detreville, who was recording with his cell phone inside a government building just before he was arrested.
The complaint charges he was arrested without probable cause of a crime, and instead in retaliation for exercising his First Amendment right to record.
The report explains the lawsuit said Detreville was not recording “in” the station, as nearby signage prohibited, but officers arrested him anyway.
Brimmer wrote, “The court further finds that a reasonable officer would not interpret the plain language of the sign to prohibit what plaintiff was doing, namely, recording outside of the station door in a way that captured images of the inside of the station,” the Gazette reported.
The officers were identified as Sergey Gurevich and Julie Weinheimer and they claimed that could not be sued because they have immunity to such claims of civil liability.
The report said, “As of November 2019, when they encountered Detreville filming inside the vestibule, there was no precedent-setting court decision for Colorado clearly establishing that the First Amendment guarantees the right to record police officers in public. However, that changed this year, when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit acknowledged for the first time the existence of a right to record and, further, deemed the right was clear at least as early as May 2019.”
Detreville describes himself as a “sparring” partner for police and routinely checks on their performance. The night of his arrest he filmed at a government building that houses multiple offices, then went into an entry area, outside the police station.
The officers shortly later arrested him, after pointing to a sign that recording was allowed “in” the station.
He spent three days in jail but the charges later were dismissed.
The judge rejected the officers’ contention that the sign in the entry banned Detreville’s recording because evidence showed he was not recording “in” the station when he was arrested.