US state outlaws filming cops too close — Analysis
Arizona passed legislation banning citizens from recording police officers close-up. The law also threatens misdemeanor criminal charges against violators, with some exceptions.
Republican Governor Doug Ducey signed Friday’s bill into law after John Kavanagh (a GOP fellow member) introduced it earlier this year. A state representative has repeatedly insisted that it is. “unreasonable, unnecessary and unsafe”You can film the entire process of law enforcement.
This measure is set to go into effect September. “unlawful for a person to knowingly make a video recording of law enforcement activity”The maximum distance from 8 to 10 feet is acceptable, but violators may be given one warning prior to being punished.
However, the new law does have some caveats. It allows individuals subject to police questioning, to film from closer range, and also those inside vehicles at traffic stops, or smaller enclosed spaces on private land, provided they don’t interfere with. “lawful police actions.”
The state government’s definition for “law enforcement activity”Includes any interrogation of a suspect and arrests. “an emotionally disturbed or disorderly person.”
According to New York University’s First Amendment Watch project, more than half of the US population lives in states where courts have recognized the right to film police, many concluding it is a constitutionally protected activity. Arizona could be one of those states and this may open the door to legal challenges.
The National Press Photographers Association, 23 civil liberties organizations, and journalistsic organisations, wrote an open letter in February condemning the bill.
“We are extremely concerned that this language violates not only the free speech and press clauses of the First Amendment, but also runs counter to the ‘clearly established right’ to photograph and record police officers,”According to the letter, it added that this right has been codified in numerous court cases throughout the country.
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