Arizona House bill seeks to impose limits on taking video of police

Jan 27, 2022, 4:25 AM

(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)...

(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

PHOENIX – A proposed Arizona House bill to outlaw close-up video recordings of police actions is meant to protect officers and civilians alike, said its sponsor.

State Rep. John Kavanagh said HB 2319 would require recording of police actions in public take place 15 feet away from the scene. Video recording closer than 15 feet would require officer permission.

“I’m simply trying to find a reasonable compromise that will let people still film but not get so close that they’re going to cause … problems,” Kavanagh told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Wednesday.

The American Civil Liberties Union has said taking photos and videos of what is in plain sight, including police and other government officials performing their duties, in public spaces is a constitutional right.

The Republican legislator, whose district includes Fountain Hills and most of Scottsdale, spent 20 years on the Port Authority Police Department of New York and New Jersey.

“When I was a cop, if I was arresting somebody and somebody suddenly came up within feet behind me, I don’t know if it’s another offender, a friend of the person I’m arresting, who is going to attack me.

“Or I might just turn around to see what’s going on and in doing that, the person I’m arresting punches me, tries to escape or destroys evidence.”

Kavanagh said indoor locations will be an exception to the 15-foot recording limit, if the person recording is legally allowed to be there.

He also said he planned to amend the bill to allow the person being arrested to record the encounter.

“Assuming he’s not in the process of being handcuffed,” Kavanagh said. “That was an omission I’ll take care of, no problem. I’m certainly willing to amend the bill so I don’t run afoul of the Constitution.”

Kavanagh said he was prompted to write the bill two years ago after receiving a phone call from two officers in Tucson.

“They said, “We understand people can film in a public place but can’t we keep a decent distance so we don’t have mistakes or we’re not distracted?'” Kavanagh said.

Objections to the bill, he said, “I think is a matter of you’re stopping people from exposing brutality. First of all, these scenes are now overphotographed. Every police [officer] has a body camera, so there really is no shortage of video footage.”

Lawyers were looking over court decisions involving the issue, he said.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Facebook Photo/Phoenix Police Department, file)...

Police identify teen boy who died after shooting in central Phoenix

A teenage boy who was shot and later died in central Phoenix on Saturday afternoon has been identified, according to Phoenix Police. 

4 hours ago

Solar panels...

Damon Allred

Gila River Indian Community to receive solar panels over canals

The Biden-Harris Administration will give $5.65 million to construct and install solar panels over the Casa Blanca Canal.

7 hours ago

Artist rendering of the upcoming Taco Viva restaurant in Phoenix. (Aline Architecture)...

Brandon Brown/Phoenix Business Journal

Real estate investor to open drive-thru Taco Viva restaurant in Phoenix

Taco Viva, a new restaurant founded by the managing director of a Scottsdale real estate investment firm, is set to open in early 2024.

8 hours ago

(Facebook Photo)...

Associated Press

Pilot killed in small plane crash near Eloy Municipal Airport

A pilot has been killed in a small plane crash in a vacant lot near Eloy Municipal Airport, about halfway between Phoenix and Tucson, police said.

18 hours ago

Firebird Motorsports Park....

Chandler racing complex renamed Firebird Motorsports Park

Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler has a new name -- Firebird Motorsports Park.

20 hours ago

Pamela Andrews...

Silver Alert canceled after 68-year-old woman located

The Mesa Police Department canceled a Silver Alert on Saturday after locating Pamela Andrew, the Arizona Department of Safety says.

20 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(KTAR News Graphic)...

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

Follow @KTAR923...

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.

Follow @KTAR923...

West Hunsaker at Morris Hall supports Make-A-Wish Foundation in Arizona

KTAR's Community Spotlight this month focuses on Morris Hall and its commitment to supporting the Make-A-Wish Foundation in Arizona.

Arizona House bill seeks to impose limits on taking video of police