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Milwaukie, Oregon, Police Unclear on Citizens’ Right to Record Cops

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Milwaukie, Oregon, Police Unclear on Citizens’ Right to Record Cops

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I was pulled over this morning at 8:12am by a Milwaukie Police Officer, for the alleged offense of failing to obey a stop sign while turning right on eastbound SE Jackson onto SE Main.

Before the officer approached my car, I turned my phone onto video recording mode, with only myself in the frame. I dutifully retrieved my license, registration, and insurance, handing them silently to the officer as he explained why he pulled me over.

It was then he asked if I was audio and video recording him. Obeying John Lucy‘s Per-Word Pricing Rule*, I replied “Yes, sir.”

That’s when the officer replied, “Oregon is a two-party state, so you gotta let us know, just like I’d have to let you know if I was video and audio recording you, OK?”

Now, you know me, I look shit up. This is Oregon’s Two-Party Consent statute, ORS 165.540(1)(c) [https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/165.540], which states:

Except as otherwise provided in ORS 133.724 (Order for interception of communications) or 133.726 (Interception of oral communication without order) or subsections (2) to (7) of this section, a person may not… Obtain or attempt to obtain the whole or any part of a conversation by means of any device, contrivance, machine or apparatus, whether electrical, mechanical, manual or otherwise, if not all participants in the conversation are specifically informed that their conversation is being obtained.

Translation: You can’t audio record conversations unless everyone involved knows you’re recording.

However, reading farther down the statute brings us to paragraph (5)(c), which explains:

“The prohibitions in subsection (1)(c) of this section do not apply to… A person who records a conversation in which a law enforcement officer is a participant, if the recording is made while the officer is performing official duties; the recording is made openly and in plain view of the participants in the conversation; the conversation being recorded is audible to the person by normal unaided hearing; and the person is in a place where the person lawfully may be.”

Well, let’s see, the officer was officially pulling me over, the recording was in plain view on my dash (else how could he have known to ask me about it?), the conversation was audible to the both of us, and I may lawfully be in my car parked lawfully in a marked spot.

Translation: Seems like Milwaukie PD is training their officers to intimidate the public into not recording cops.

So, now what do I do with this, besides forward this to the ALCU of Oregon?


  • John told me if I ever called him from jail, the cost to represent me would be a base figure multiplied by how many words I said to the cops. So, in this case, Basex2.
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