When the Supreme Court first addressed the status of "ride- alongs" in late May of this year, the role of the news media could have been treated in any of several ways. The law enforcement officers, who were sued for invasion of privacy because they invited reporters to accompany them while serving an arrest warrant in a private home, offered several extenuations. The presence of journalists, they argued, would provide direct information to the general public about important news events. Moreover, reporters who took part in the arrest could, in a sense, keep the police honest, or at least make them more accountable to the citizenry. Finally, the defendants candidly claimed that the participation ofreporters on such a mission might enhance the image of the law enforcement agency itself. Thus, far from justifying civil liability in privacy suits brought by aggrieved suspects, the ride-along practice should warrant commendation.
Robert M. O'Neil,
Ride-Alongs, Paparazzi, and Other Media Threats to Privacy,
U. Rich. L. Rev.
Available at: http://scholarship.richmond.edu/lawreview/vol33/iss4/5