Defamation Claims for Television Arrests

If you're arrested, do the cops have the automatic right to video while you're being questioned and show that video on TV?

Michael W. Flynn
3-minute read

Steve specifically asked whether the police have the automatic right to record a video while you are being questioned and show that video on TV. This question falls under other torts that involve invasion of privacy. You can sue for invasion of privacy if the police intentionally intrude into your privacy and that intrusion would be highly offensive to a reasonable person. Whether or not your privacy has been invaded depends on whether you have a reasonable expectation of privacy. When you are confronted by the police in a public place, it is not generally considered reasonable to expect your encounter to be private. This is because police are supposed to record their encounter with you for the purposes of law enforcement. So, when you are pulled over by police, you should expect that the officers are recording the encounter. By contrast, if the police secretly recorded you in your home, and then broadcast the tape, you would more likely prevail.

Last, a person whose face is used in a television show for commercial gain might be able to sue for misappropriation of his image.

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