Arizona GOPer Wants To Criminalize Filming Within 20 Feet Of Police

Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, smiles as he addresses the legislature in the Arizona House of Representatives at the Arizona Capitol Monday, Jan. 13, 2014, in Phoenix. The Republican lawmaker wants the state ... Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, smiles as he addresses the legislature in the Arizona House of Representatives at the Arizona Capitol Monday, Jan. 13, 2014, in Phoenix. The Republican lawmaker wants the state constitution amended to allow cuts to public employee pensions and increases in employee contributions if the systems are badly underfunded. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) MORE LESS
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Arizona state Sen. John Kavanagh (R) has proposed a bill that would criminalize recording police or police activities within 20 feet without an officer’s express permission, according to a Thursday report from The Arizona Capitol Times.

Kavanagh said Senate Bill 1054 allows citizens to film at 21 feet, which he said is close enough because cameras have improved so much.

“Most cameras have great resolution where you don’t really lose anything when you’re 20 feet away,” he said, according to the Times. “At 20 feet you can pretty much pick up small objects.”

Under Kavanagh’s bill, a first offense would result in a $300 fine while further violations could send offenders to jail for up to six months, according to the Times.

Kavanagh, who is a retired cop and teaches criminal justice courses at a community college, said it was a “distraction” to have someone filming too close to police.

“Having one or more persons suddenly walking up behind and around them with cameras is a distraction,” Kavanagh said. “The officer doesn’t know if this is somebody who’s a friend of the individual he’s doing law enforcement action against or what.”

When confronted about the problems the First Amendment poses for the measure, the lawmaker said an all-out ban on taping police interactions may not be justified.

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Notable Replies

  1. Because freedom!

  2. because in his day, you could beat citizens freely without threat of retribution. I’ve never met a cop who doesn’t think a) their lives are more valuable then the rest of ours, b) they are ALWAYS right, c) that society should worship the ground they walk on because they knowingly walked into a job with known occupational hazards

    but yeah, fuck this guy

  3. “The officer doesn’t know if this is somebody who’s a friend of the individual he’s doing law enforcement action against or what.”

    So?

  4. This is the guy who tried derailing a recall election for his buddy, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, two years ago.

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