By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is filing a federal lawsuit today on behalf of a Temple University student who says he was arrested two years ago after videotaping city police officers.

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ACLU senior attorney Mary Catherine Roper says Temple student Christopher Montgomery used his iPhone in January 2011 to record an altercation involving police and a mob in center city.

Montgomery was arrested, and Roper contends his civil rights were violated.

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“These cases are coming up all over the country,” she tells KYW Newsradio.   “And unfortunately in Pennsylvania, the courts have waffled on whether you have a First Amendment right to record police.  We think it’s inconceivable that you would not have a First Amendment right to record police — after all, they work for you.”

Philadelphia police commissioner Charles Ramsey has in fact issued a memo advising officers to allow video recording, but Roper says officers have been ignoring that directive.

A spokesman for the Philadelphia Police Department said this morning that the department has not yet received the lawsuit and cannot yet comment.

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