Minneapolis police officer Derrick Chauvin kneels on the neck of George Floyd. The unarmed man died after begging Chauvin to let him up because he could not breathe. Screenshot via Facebook
By Jerod Macdonald-Evoy | Arizona Mirror
Videos like those that captured police killing George Floyd and Eric Garner would be illegal in Arizona under a new law proposed by a retired police officer.
A bill proposed by Fountain Hills Republican Rep. John Kavanagh, who spent decades as an officer for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, would make it unlawful for someone to film police from up to 15 feet away while officers are engaged in “law enforcement activity” Constitutional experts and civil rights advocates say the proposed law would be blatantly unconstitutional.
“Courts have upheld that people have a constitutional right to videotape police activity, and now to say that it is illegal is just idiotic,” Dan Barr, an attorney who specializes in media and First Amendment cases, told the Arizona Mirror. “This would make the recording of the murder of George Floyd illegal.”
House Bill 2319 is similar to a bill Kavanah proposed in 2016. This year’s version considers a violation a “petty offense.” But if a person “fails to comply with a verbal warning” or has been previously convicted for filming police officers, they would face a class 3 misdemeanor and up to 30 days in jail.