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The governor of Arizona signed a bill that makes it illegal to film police within 8 feet

The governor of Arizona has signed a bill that makes it illegal for people to film police officers from close up.

The law, which was signed by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on Wednesday and will go into effect in September, makes it illegal to record police officers from eight feet or closer without their permission. If you break the law, it's a misdemeanor, which means you'll probably get a fine but not time in jail.

The bill's sponsor, Republican state Rep. John Kavanagh, said that a law is needed to protect police from people with "very bad judgment or bad intentions."

Kavanagh said Friday, "I'm glad that a very reasonable law that helps keep police officers, people stopped by police, and bystanders safe has been signed into law." "It makes everyone safer, but people can still videotape police actions in a reasonable way, as is their right."

Kavanagh, who was a police officer for 20 years, changed the law so that it applies to certain types of law enforcement actions, such as questioning suspects and dealing with people who have mental or behavioral health problems.

People who are directly involved in a police interaction are also exempt from the law. As long as they are not being arrested or searched, they can take pictures. Anyone who is in a car that is pulled over by the police or who is being questioned can also record what is going on.

 Phoenix Police officers watch protesters rally on June 2, 2020, in Phoenix during demonstrations over the death of George Floyd.
Rep. John Kavanagh argues the measure protects the “safety of police officers.”
AP Photo/Matt York, File

Mayor Eric Adams of New York City recently criticized people who film NYPD officers making arrests of people they think are breaking the law from close up.

Adams said in March, "Stop getting in the way of my police officers while they're doing their jobs." "That's not okay, and we won't put up with it."

But people on the left and who fight for civil rights were very angry about the law.

"We're talking about people who are in public places where they have the right to be. We're not talking about someone breaking into the [National Security Agency]," said K.M. Bell, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona.

Mayor Eric Adams speaking about the Summer Rising program at PS/MS 188 at 442 E Houston Street.
Mayor Eric Adams previously demanded New Yorkers to stop annoying NYPD officers.
William Farrington

Stephen Solomon, who runs the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University, told the Washington Post that a "blanket restriction" is a "violation of the First Amendment."

"Who says that 8 feet is the right amount of space? "It might be in some situations, but it might not be in others," he told the newspaper, asking how a law like that would be enforced at a crowded protest.

About a year ago, the U.S. Department of Justice began an investigation into the Phoenix police force to find out if officers had been using too much force and mistreating homeless people. The measures have now been given the green light.

It also comes at a time when cellphone videos of police interacting with the public have been used in recent years to record police interactions and hold officers who break the law accountable, such as the officer who killed George Floyd in 2020.


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