Right to Videotape Police Officers, Commonwealth v. Robinson  

In the course of filming a Black Panthers demonstration, Alton Robinson turned his camera on a police car sitting in a parking lot observing the event.  A police officer got out of the car and told Robinson that he did not have permission to videotape him.  A loud and heated conversation ensued, with the police officer telling Robinson that he did not want his face on the internet and Robinson yelling back to the officer that he was filming the event and not the police officers.  The other officer in the car, Officer Hyman, then asked Robinson for his identification.   Several other officers surrounded Robinson and the Black Panther marchers stopped their march and watched the ensuring kerfuffle between the police and Robinson.  Robinson was ultimately charged with disorderly conduct. Robinson was found not guilty on November 29, 2011.


Rebecca Glenberg, ACLU of Virginia

Pro Bono Law Firm(s)

Patrick Anderson, Anderson & Woodtich, PC, Alexandria

Date filed

June 15, 2011


General District Court, Norfolk