Ducey Signs Law Restricting Filming of Police
Under the new law, filming police work from within 8 feet will be punishable by up to 30 days in jail. There are exceptions for traffic stops and those who are questioned by police.
A new law, just signed by Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, will make it illegal to film police officers at work from within a distance of 8 feet. Police have to give a verbal warning before they can arrest those filming from too close.
The law has carved out exceptions for those actually questioned by or involved with the police, for situations inside buildings on private property, and for those involved in traffic stops.
A previous version of the bill would have encoded a 15 feet minimum distance.
Critics argue that this violates the first amendment of the Bill of Rights. We concur, in part. With modern technology, in most cases 8 feet is a reasonable distance that allows filming, including the recording of sound. Most of the time there is no need to be any closer and police officers need some space to conduct their important work. It's not necessary to stick a camera into a police officers' face in order to record him or her. However, not everyone has the latest technology and with an older phone it could be difficult to get a clear shot of a scene, let alone a batch number, from 8 feet.
The bill appears to enable police to arbitrarily expand a police scene by simply having officers walk toward those who film. In this way they would be able to push those recording video back an arbitrarily large distance, effectively preventing the recording of police activity. The bill also fails to address situations in which an 8 feet distance cannot be maintained, for example if there are large crowds, e.g. during a protest.
Police officers are agents of the state and it is important that they are being held accountable. Vice versa, the filming of a police interaction can also help officers by showing that there was no misconduct when a subject alleges that there was.
We urge law makers to change the law to make sure it does not interfere with the first amendment rights of citizens. Also, if politicians, especially - but not only, hello Mitt "Black Lives Matter" Romney - leftists ones, stopped glorifying and supporting crime by bringing in Mexican cartel members over the open border, tolerate homeless camps, cheer on violent protests, and erect statues of criminals like George Floyd, there would be much less need for police to get involved with citizens at all.