Bill banning recording of police officers within 8 feet on Gov. Ducey’s desk

The bill could ban people from filming officers without their permission unless they are at least 8 feet away.
Published: Jun. 27, 2022 at 7:50 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - A proposed law passed by the Senate on Friday is awaiting the governor’s signature. It could ban people from filming officers without their permission unless they are at least 8 feet away, but its legality is in question.

House Bill 2319 was initially introduced by State Representative John Kavanagh, a former police officer. He says the bill would protect police officers and those recording. “Now I have no problem with people video taping police activity, when they’re a reasonable distance away,” Kavanagh said.

He wants the governor to sign his bill, which would ban recording officers within 8 feet unless you have their permission. “This bill simply says you’re free to photograph police officers but if it’s a potentially dangerous situation, you simply have to stay back 8 feet,” said Kavanagh. “It’s a very reasonable bill, and only unreasonable people walk right into the middle of an arrest encounter. It’s dangerous for everybody.”

However, some don’t agree with the bill and says it infringes on the public’s rights. “Members of the public have a First Amendment right to video police in public places and what this tries to do is discourage people from doing that,” said Constitutional Attorney Dan Barr.

Barr says there is already a law that says you can’t interfere with officers doing their job, and this bill would not hold up in court. “You are punishing people for exercising their First Amendment right, when they’re not actually interfering with police. So what I would advise the government to do is follow the advice of legislative counsel, which has repeatedly said that this bill is unconstitutional,” Barr said.

There are some exceptions. Kavanagh says it won’t apply to people who are part of the police encounter. It also excludes people who are on private property or in cars during a traffic stop. If the governor signs the bill, people who refuse to stop recording officers could face up to 30 days in jail.