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Thread: Texas Bill Would Make Recording Police Illegal

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    Texas Bill Would Make Recording Police Illegal


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    Re: Texas Bill Would Make Recording Police Illegal

    Well within 25 feet. There's a give take here because you can't interfere with the police, or perhaps shouldn't under most circumstances, in the course of them doing their duty. Should they put a hard limit to it? I don't know, I think it's something easily abused by the authority and you need to be careful. You could likely get within 25 feet and still not be interfering with the police. So in general I'd be against these laws because we already have laws against interfering with the police, so it's taken care of. However, this law isn't about making the recording of police illegal in general, just within some set distance. Still would be against such a law, though.
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    Re: Texas Bill Would Make Recording Police Illegal

    If the drafters of the bill were worried about interference with police performing their duties the bill would call for a 25' perimeter excluding ALL people, not just those with a camera.

    The bill doesn't contain an exception for persons being investigated by the officer so presumably a motorist stopped by the police could not legally videotape the encounter under this law.



    Courts have consistently held that recording police in the performance of their duties is permissible under the First Amendment. Even if this was passed it likely would not stand a Constitutional challenge.
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    Re: Texas Bill Would Make Recording Police Illegal

    Within 25 feet.

    I am a strong supporter in the public's right to record police officers. But I also don't have a problem with giving the officers a buffer zone to do their work. Reasonable people can certainly disagree on what that distance should be.

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    Re: Texas Bill Would Make Recording Police Illegal

    Quote Originally Posted by Gaius46 View Post
    The bill doesn't contain an exception for persons being investigated by the officer so presumably a motorist stopped by the police could not legally videotape the encounter under this law.
    That is an important detail that needs to be clarified by the law then. Set a buffer zone for people with whom the officer is not interacting. If the officer is interacting with you then the buffer zone is waved.

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    Re: Texas Bill Would Make Recording Police Illegal

    Quote Originally Posted by BrewerBob View Post
    Within 25 feet.

    I am a strong supporter in the public's right to record police officers. But I also don't have a problem with giving the officers a buffer zone to do their work. Reasonable people can certainly disagree on what that distance should be.
    What is or isn't 25 feet will obviously be up to law enforcement. They will most likely be harassing people that are more than 25 feet away. This is not about helping police do their jobs; this is about making it harder to make them accountable for their actions.

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    Re: Texas Bill Would Make Recording Police Illegal

    Texas.....nuff' said.
    "Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it." George Santayana

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    Re: Texas Bill Would Make Recording Police Illegal

    Quote Originally Posted by Anomalism View Post
    What is or isn't 25 feet will obviously be up to law enforcement. They will most likely be harassing people that are more than 25 feet away. This is not about helping police do their jobs; this is about making it harder to make them accountable for their actions.
    I don't disagree that the police will manipulate the rule. But that doesn't mean such a rule isn't justified.

    I am the father of two young sons. One of my oldest son's favorite past-times is to lick his finger and stick it about one inch from his brother's face and when his brother protests he says, "What?! I'm not touching you!"

    I can envision a situation in which an officer is trying to make a legitimate arrest and bystanders, with cameras or not, start getting too close for comfort. Close enough to be distracting. Close enough the officer may even feel in danger. Imagine a group of friends out, perhaps they just won a hockey game, and one of them throws a beer bottle through a car window breaking it. An officer sees it and starts arresting the guy. All of a sudden his dozen buddies surround him and the officer and get really close. They are yelling at the officer that their buddy didn't do anything and this is ****ed up and they start calling him a pig and everything else. Everything they are yelling is protected by the first amendment, as it should be. But it will be very difficult for the officer to do his job properly and communicate with dispatch over the noise.

    "We're not touching you! We're not touching you!"

    A balance has to be found.

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    Re: Texas Bill Would Make Recording Police Illegal

    Quote Originally Posted by BrewerBob View Post
    A balance has to be found.
    Make it illegal to film the police on the condition that all police wear cameras all the time.

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    Re: Texas Bill Would Make Recording Police Illegal

    Quote Originally Posted by BrewerBob View Post
    I don't disagree that the police will manipulate the rule. But that doesn't mean such a rule isn't justified.

    I am the father of two young sons. One of my oldest son's favorite past-times is to lick his finger and stick it about one inch from his brother's face and when his brother protests he says, "What?! I'm not touching you!"

    I can envision a situation in which an officer is trying to make a legitimate arrest and bystanders, with cameras or not, start getting too close for comfort. Close enough to be distracting. Close enough the officer may even feel in danger. Imagine a group of friends out, perhaps they just won a hockey game, and one of them throws a beer bottle through a car window breaking it. An officer sees it and starts arresting the guy. All of a sudden his dozen buddies surround him and the officer and get really close. They are yelling at the officer that their buddy didn't do anything and this is ****ed up and they start calling him a pig and everything else. Everything they are yelling is protected by the first amendment, as it should be. But it will be very difficult for the officer to do his job properly and communicate with dispatch over the noise.

    "We're not touching you! We're not touching you!"

    A balance has to be found.
    In truth a hard perimeter is probably less easily manipulated by the police. Right now the officer has complete discretion.

    I don't recall this ever being an issue in the past, and, as far as I know, we don't have a raft of laws specifying how close bystanders can get to police. So what's changed? Are people with camera truly interfering with policing or are they threatening to policing?
    Don't be a grammar nazi - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book 1 #7

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