Category
Right to Record Police

First Amendment Watch, Free Speech Center Unite in Educational Video Project

The first release from First Amendment Watch at New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute and the Free Speech Center at Middle Tennessee State University focuses on the rights of those who wish to photograph or record video of police officers in public places.

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Demonstrators hold a protest rally the week after an unarmed man was shot dead by police in Phoenix

Preliminary Injunction Blocks Arizona Law Restricting Recording of Police

Judge John Tuchi for the United States District Court for the District of Arizona granted the motion for a preliminary injunction Friday and enjoined enforcement of the law pending resolution of the case on the merits, according to Ballard Spahr attorney Matthew E. Kelley, who represents an alliance of press groups in opposition to the law.

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Demonstrators hold a protest rally the week after an unarmed man was shot dead by police in Phoenix

Press Groups, ACLU Challenge Arizona’s Law Restricting Recording of Police Officers

The motion filed Tuesday morning argues that the law, known as HB2319, is a content-based restriction on speech and would have a chilling effect not only on the First Amendment activities of visual journalists “whose job it is to document the newsworthy activities of public servants in public places” but would also affect the general public who “simply wants to record what law enforcement officers are doing."

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Demonstrators hold a protest rally the week after an unarmed man was shot dead by police in Phoenix

Next Up: Lawsuit Imminent to Challenge New Arizona Law Restricting the Recording of Police

There's no hesitancy among free press and media legal scholars who are asked whether the law is constitutional. There's consensus: It's not. They base their views on numerous rulings of federal appeals courts on the issue.

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The Byron White Courthouse in Denver

10th Circuit Court of Appeals Upholds Public Right to Record Police

The court referenced First Amendment principles and the previous six U.S. appeals courts' decisions as relevant precedents to decide in favor of a self-identified journalist YouTube blogger, Abade Irizarry.

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A protester photographs a protest with his cellphone in St. Louis, Missouri, following the death in Minneapolis of George Floyd.

Arizona Governor Signs Bill to Restrict Recording Police in Public

Arizona Gov. Douglas Ducey signed into law a bill that would make it illegal to photograph or record a police officer in public from a distance of eight feet without the officer’s permission.

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Scales of Justice

Arizona House Passes Bill That Would Limit Recording of the Police

On February 24th, the Arizona House of Representatives voted to advance a bill that would make it illegal to photograph or record a police officer in public from a distance of eight feet without his or her permission. House Bill 2319 says if an individual is asked by the police to quit filming but continues to do so would face a class 3 misdemeanor and up to 30 days in jail. 

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recording police

Florida Lawmaker Proposes Law that Could Interfere With Right to Record Police

Florida Rep. Alex Rizo (R-Hialeah)  introduced a bill to the Florida legislature that would make it a second-degree misdemeanor for someone to “disrupt, hinder, impede, or interfere" with law enforcement officers while they are performing official duties. While the bill does not explicitly mention the act of cellphone recording, its langauge would give police wide discretion to arrest individuals who they perceive are impeding their activities. 

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