(credit: Tony Webster)
Sen. John Kavanagh (R-Ariz.). (credit: Gage Skidmore)
An Arizona lawmaker is proposing legislation to make it a crime to get too close to the police to film them in action. The proposal from Republican state Sen. John Kavanagh, which includes penalties of a $300 fine and up to six months in jail, comes as lawmakers nationwide grapple with a new YouTube society of sorts. In light of high-profile incidents, filming the police has become a routine endeavor.
Last year, a Texas lawmaker proposed similar legislation but scrapped it following widespread opposition. Colorado and California went to other extremes, approving measures protecting the public from police retaliation for filming them. For their part, police officers across the nation are taking to body cameras to fulfill filming goals as well.
“Basically what this law says is if the officer is engaged in law enforcement activity, so he’s making an arrest or he’s questioning a suspicious person, you can film, but you’ve got to stay back 20 feet,” Kavanagh told The Associated Press. “The reason being when you get closer, you become a distraction, the officer doesn’t know if you’re a threat, and that jeopardizes everybody’s safety, including the officer.”
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