The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports:
The Allegheny County district attorney’s office has agreed to settle a federal lawsuit against it by redistributing a memo explaining that it is not against the law to videotape a police officer in the course of doing his duty.
The unusual settlement — which includes no financial terms — came about after a Hill District man was charged with violating state wiretap laws in April 2009. . .
Though it has not yet gone out, the memo will be sent to the Allegheny County police chiefs association, as well as to its local prosecutors.
The ACLU of Pennsylvania agreed to the settlement after determining that the assistant DA did not approve the charges. Unfortunately, the charges against the officer in question — one Nicholas Mollo of the University of Pittsburgh police — were dismissed despite him being guilty of false arrest, and (apparently) of filing a false affidavit. Mollo claimed on the affidavit that the assistant DA did approve the charges.
POSTSCRIPT: I’ve often been critical here of the ACLU for its poor sense of priorities in civil rights, but the ACLU of Pennsylvania actually does a lot of good work, at least in Allegheny County.