Legal Question in Civil Litigation in New York

I attended a church function, that was advertised as "Fun and Game" night - all are welcome. When I got there I saw a table with 6 people playing cards, My denomination frowns on this activity so I wanted to report this to a higher level in the church and I started to videorecord the game, while I was recording the Pastor came over, grabbed the camera and after a struggle, he wrestled it out of my hand. My camera was returned without the tape and I was escorted out of the church.

Do I have a right to take video of a public event with no sign saying "no cameras" on the advertisement or at the event itself? What are my rights to get the tape back?

Asked on 3/28/11, 5:04 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Paula McGill Attorney at Law

Apparently, you were on private church property. Therefore, the church can prohibit pictures even if they don't have signs. Regardless, the pastor should have asked you to stop taping or be escorted off the property. If he gave you no warning to leave, but assaulted you by grabbing the camera from you and struggling with you, contact the police and seek charges against him for the assault and unlawful taking and retention of your property. At the same time the criminal process is moving forward, you can also sue him in civil court for the civil assault and the value of the tape.

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Answered on 3/28/11, 6:54 pm

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