Arizona’s Republican Governor. Doug Ducey has signed into law HB 2319, which bans the public from video recording within 8 feet of police activity.
Anyone who makes video of any police officer within 8 feet could face a class 3 misdemeanor charge and would be likely to receive a small fine, without the possibility of jail sentence. Before arresting anyone who records video, officers must warn them.
An exception can be made if an incident occurs on private property.
” If law enforcement activities are taking place in enclosed structures on private property, an authorized person may record the activity from an area less than eight feet from the location,” states the law .
The exception to private property will not apply to the situation where the police find that the filming interferes with law enforcement activities or is unsafe for the subject and order the individual to move on.
A person who is “the subject of police contact,” may also record an encounter, provided that they are not interfering in “lawful police action.”
The legislation, which will be in effect from September, defines “law enforcement activities” as the conduct of an investigation, making an arrest or issuing summons to an individual or dealing with an emotional disturbed person or person who displays abnormal behavior.
‘Reasonable law’ to protect officers
On Feb. 18, the National Press Photographers Association sent a letter (pdf) to Republican state Reps. Regina Cobb, chair of the state House Appropriations Committee, and John Kavanagh, vice chair of the committee, arguing that the language of the legislation violates the free speech and press clauses of the First Amendment.
Critics also claim that police officers will be able to arrest anyone filming them.
Kavanagh, who sponsored the legislation and served as a police officer for 20 years, said there needs to be a law that protects the police from people who either have “sinister motives” or “poor judgment.”
” I’m happy that a very sensible law has been passed that promotes safety for police officers, those involved in stops or bystanders and police officers,” he stated on July 8. It promotes everyone’s safety, yet allows for reasonable videotaping of police activity .”
This report was contributed by the Associated Press.
Naveen is a journalist covering world and business events for The Epoch Times.