The Arizona House voted to pass a bill on Wednesday that would ban members of the public from using their phones to record police officers from less than 8 feet away unless given permission by the officer.
The 31-28 vote fell along party lines, and came after its author, Rep. John Kavanagh amended the bill to address possible constitutional concerns, and reduced the legal recording distance from 15 feet to 8 feet away.
The bill would make it a petty offense to record an officer from closer than 8 feet away, and makes it a misdemeanor to refuse to stop recording an officer from close-up when asked. The latter offense could carry a 30-day jail sentence.
Critics of the bill say it is not helpful to minority communities, who have recently seen several high profile police brutality cases prosecuted because of cell phone video evidence by onlookers. Democrat Rep. Reginald Bolding said during the vote the new bill does not make minority communities feel safe from police brutality.
“One way to not do that is telling them that they cannot use their cellphones or do any type of recording unless it’s within a specific set of guidelines,” Bolding said during the vote.
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: MIAMI NEW TIMES
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