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Videotaping Police

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Police busted an underage drinking party in Galesburg over the weekend. More than a dozen teens are facing underage drinking charges, but the worst of the charges are felonies for eavesdropping on police.

"I think a lot of times people want to record us because they think we're going to do something wrong," said Galesburg Police Captain Rodney Riggs.

He said not only was recording police without their consent illegal, it was annoying.

"It's a hindrance," said Riggs. "Following the police officers around, it's two in the morning, we have officers trying to do their jobs, and at times, we have to take action to get our job done."

But those at the party we talked to disagree.

"While I was videotaping them, he was like what's this? And he just takes my phone and puts me in cuffs and then I'm in jail," said Andrew Cree who had his cell phone taken away.

Steve Solominski also questions the eavesdropping charge.

"We warned them before they came into the house that we were recording them for our own protection and our rights."

Captain Riggs said people at the party may think police were in the wrong by busting down someone's door, but he said all the wrongdoing was going on before police arrived: underage drinking and drug use.

"They always see the reaction of the police, not what happened prior to that to make police react."

Riggs said whatever was recorded by the people at the party is only evidence in favor of police.

"They think people will automatically be against police, police are doing something wrong because how dare they come into this house and take this minor with a .38 blood alcohol level to the hospital, who possibly could die."

People whipping out a cell phone and pushing the record button is an ongoing problem for police who are trying to do their jobs. Often that video can wind up on the online, or even as evidence in a courtroom. But Captain Riggs sees an advantage to this growing trend.

"I always tell my officers, if you're doing the right thing, there is no problem with being recorded."

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