A federal judge in Arizona on Friday blocked new legislation that would have made it unlawful to video law enforcement activity within eight feet after being warned.
The plaintiffs were given a preliminary injunction by the United States. District Judge John J. Tuchi stopped HB2319 by joining forces with the American Civil Liberties Union and other media companies, including Fox Television and NBC Universal.
According to ACLU members, the law is a flagrant attempt to undermine the First Amendment protections for documenting police activity.
According to the ACLU, if a police officer approaches this reporter and closes the eight-foot gap that limits the commentator’s ability to move away, authorities may detain the reporter for filming while in a crowd during a protest, according to court records.
as Arizona is sued over its new law (not yet in effect) that bans filming police within eight feet, I wrote about a new lawsuit in Apache Junction over cops arresting and then falsely charging a man who was filming them https://t.co/pZJrypyb06— katya schwenk (@ktyschwnk) September 8, 2022
The law states that violators may face a class 3 misdemeanor penalty, which entails a $500 fine, up to 30 days in jail, and up to a year of probation.
The rule would have allowed “subjects of police contact” to video the police when they were eight feet away from them as long as they didn’t get in the way of any legitimate police activity.
The police would not have allowed spectators on private land to get any closer than eight feet to a police interaction if video interfered with their ability to carry out their duties or if they believed the area to be unsafe.
Republican lawmakers who backed the bill claimed it would protect officers from people purposefully taking pictures of them, according to NBC 12 News.
NBC and the other plaintiffs in the case filed a lawsuit last month against Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone, and Attorney Rachel Mitchell.