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Homewood Man Records Officers Because he was 'Being Followed by 5 Cops,' Reports Say

A man reportedly used his phone to record police when they were at a post office. He said he tapes them because they're all "crooked," cops said. The arrest ties in with scrutiny of the Ill. Eavesdropping Act, which a judge is expected to rule on today.

Officers arrested a 53-year-old man at the Post Office last month who was allegedly recording them without their consent.

However, Steven M. Sorensen was not charged with eavesdropping for the reported offense. Rather, he faces one count of disorderly conduct. That's because the Illinois Eavesdropping Act, which bans the recording of public officials—among others—without their consent, is under fire today. A Cook County judge is expected to rule on its constitutionality

Police asked Sorensen, of the 18400 block of Perth Avenue in Homewood, to delete a recording he'd made of them driving and getting out of their cars, according to the report. An officer said that while he was on his way to the post office on Feb. 14, he noticed Sorensen holding his phone out of his van window.

"The subject responded that he is videotaping crooked cops," the report said, regarding Sorensen's answer why he was filming the officer. "I asked how I was crooked and he replied, 'Because you are following me.'"

The officer had a stack of letters in his hand to mail, he said. Sorensen insisted that he was  "being followed by five cops," according to the report.

Police asked him to delete the recording he'd made because he was violating the Illinois eavesdropping law. Sorensen refused to delete his recording or relinquish his phone. 

Officers took him into custody and asked the Cook County State's Attorney to review the possibility of filing felony eavesdropping charges, seeing as how the recording was taken on federal property.

"A discussion ensued regarding the law possibly changing and the current legislation," the report said, noting that the law has recently come under fire.

The eavesdropping charges were denied because of the law's scrutiny. Sorensen was instead charged with one misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct.

Science Guy March 06, 2012 at 12:17 PM
All 'Big Brothers' aside, I have always attested that if you're not doing anything wrong, the cops will leave you alone! No one has ever pulled me over for obeying the law so well, only the once (maybe twice) for speeding when I was a young driver. Maybe it's not a distrust of the police that's the issue. Maybe Mr. Sorenson needs to follow the law more (or possibly get psychiatric treatment).
R Type March 06, 2012 at 02:06 PM
If they were not doing anything wrong then what was the problem. Hundreds of people see them going about thier business everyday so what's the problem being recorded. I didn't read where they asked Sorenson what he was going to do with the recording. Where was the intent? The fact that they want to charge him with disorderly conduct screams retaliation. Couldn't get him on eavesdropping so get him for disorderly conduct. I must have missed where Sorenson got disorderly, the article makes it seem as if everyone was being civil. The Police do not want to be Policed and that is a problem for me. Many police cars have video cameras and microphones, I cannot ask them to turn off the cameras and they should not be allowed to ask me to turn off mine.
Linda T March 06, 2012 at 02:13 PM
The eavesdropping law was struck down as unconstitutional by Judge Stanley Sacks last Friday. Whatever the motivation or mental state of Mr. Sorensen, it seems to me on its face that charging him with disorderly conduct was grasping at straws, knowing that it was likely the electronic eavesdropping law, (although an appeal is likely,) was about to be struck down. I agree with R. Type. And to Science Guy, that's an interesting theory and may well be your experience. However, there are other whole segments of the population who are not left alone even when it's clear they're doing nothing wrong.
Mark March 06, 2012 at 04:05 PM
So the police cars are now equipped with cameras and microphones so the police can video us whenever they pull us over "for our protection". But if the citizens attempt to video the police they get arrested for disorderly conduct? With all the hours of police video why do we never see any of that video released with the police being stupid or criminal?
chrisrsherwood@hotmail.com March 06, 2012 at 04:15 PM
I see no reason why recording anyone by somone on public property should be illegal, especially police.
Joel March 07, 2012 at 01:18 AM
The guy seems somewhat paranoid.
Intheknow March 07, 2012 at 02:25 AM
Sounds like Juvenal
Joe Rossetti March 11, 2012 at 08:23 AM
This is not entirely true. As a single white male who fits no stereotypes living in a highly immigrant community and friends from many nationalities I have routinely been with hispanic and african american friends and get pulled over for no reason . No tickets, no warnings, just profiling. It DOES happen at least to some extent. I've had this happen multiple times in my ten years, and most recently a few months ago.
Joe Rossetti March 11, 2012 at 08:25 AM
I live in Elgin Illinois, I also want to add that when I am driving MY car as the driver, I have NEVER been pulled over for no reason, even when I have the same friends in my car. It has only ever happened while a non-white driver was behind the wheel.
ryan c March 12, 2012 at 12:12 PM
Which jailed governor came up with this law idea. No catching public officials on camera only makes it easier for corruption to spread.
R Type March 12, 2012 at 12:19 PM
Its funny how science guy was the first to post his psychiatric evaluation response and yet he has not defended it once. Some people need to think a bit longer before opening their mouth or keyboard in this case.
Hollywood March 13, 2012 at 11:36 AM
I've been a policeman in Indiana for 13 years now, and I see no problem with anyone recording conversations of officers. However, if something major is discovered, it can't be used in a court if neither party gave consent that were engaged in a conversation. I do think that video cameras have always been used to catch officers whom don't follow the oath that they took, so what's the big deal? As far as the general public, you should be worried. When people are allowed to tape anyone without a subpoena, you'll be the ones worried about your civil liberties being violated. I say go with the flow, and ignore some paranoid guy riding around with nothing better to do than video other guys, police or not. P.S. I'm from Chicago as well, but if you're gonna watch someone...start with the politicians, lawyers, hospitals, financial institutions, and then the policemen.

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