Remove Ban on Recording Conversations with Police

Police Car

Target: Governor of Illinois Pat Quinn

Goal: Revoke law that bans recording police conversations

In the midst of protests and die-ins regarding the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, the state of Illinois has passed a controversial law that punishes civilians who record conversations with police officers. This law will enable officers to abuse their powers and put civilians at risk of police brutality. Urge Governor Pat Quinn to remove this ban immediately for the safety of his citizens.

The Illinois House of Representatives voted 106-to-7 on a controversial law that makes it a felony to record a conversation between two or more people. The law states that if one person had a “reasonable expectation” of privacy, the recorder could be sued for violating the person’s human rights. What has added confusion is the fact that a reasonable expectation is extremely vague. What one person might consider reasonable privacy, another would think is not enough.

Furthermore, the law prevents civilians from recording police in public areas. The maximum sentence for a civilian is three years, but get caught recording a police officer and the victim could be sentenced for up to four years. The law is meant to deter citizens from recording police officers while they are at work, but Americans are increasingly concerned with the amount of police brutality that exists in the United States.

Police are also given more power. The law grants police officers power to secretly listen to conversations between two or more people without a warrant for 24 hours. Police officers have to be investigating a case of sexual assault, murder, or kidnapping to be able to do so.

The state of Illinois is blatantly disregarding the rights of all citizens, especially those who are civilians. The law favors the police and grants them more power than the average citizen. This is a huge injustice and cannot be ignored. Urge Governor Pat Quinn to revoke this law immediately, as citizens should have a right to record conversations when speaking with a police officer.


Dear Governor Quinn,

The state of Illinois recently passed a law prohibiting citizens from recording private conversations, particularly those involving the police. Those who are caught recording police officers can spend a maximum of four years in prison, whereas the sentence is merely three years when it involves civilians. The law also gives the police power to secretly listen in on conversations without a warrant. I do not understand why this new law favors the police, but this legislation could place the lives of many citizens at risk.

I implore you to revoke this law immediately. While respecting privacy is important, this law is extremely flawed. It gives the police more power over the civilians, and the reason for this is unclear. I urge you to instead opt for body cameras, and require all police officers to carry one.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Socrate76 via Wikimedia Commons

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