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

Unsheltered individuals are seen sleeping on a sidewalk. Arizona Republican leaders filed a brief a...

Kevin Stone

Arizona GOP leaders want US Supreme Court to review homeless encampment case

Arizona Republican leaders hope the U.S. Supreme Court takes up a case that could change how lawmakers can deal with homeless encampments.

2 hours ago

Police tape...

Phoenix police investigating fatal shooting of man at Valley intersection

Phoenix Police are investigating a shooting that left a man dead Sunday afternoon near a Phoenix intersection. 

3 hours ago

FILE - Kari Lake speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference, March 4, 2023, at National...

Associated Press

Kari Lake’s trial to review signed ballot envelopes from Arizona election wraps

The trial in a lawsuit brought by Kari Lake, the defeated Arizona Republican nominee for governor, to get access to 1.3 million voters' signed ballot envelopes is now in the hands of a judge after wrapping up midday Monday.

4 hours ago

(Facebook Photo/Arizona State Capitol Building)...

Associated Press

Arizona’s governor hasn’t been ‘indicted’ by the state senate, contrary to viral claim

Social media users are falsely claiming that Arizona’s governor has been “indicted” by local lawmakers. Here are the facts:

5 hours ago

Bobby Holmes...

Silver Alert canceled for woman last seen in Phoenix

A Silver Alert has been canceled for a woman seen last week near 35th Street and Pinochet Avenue in Phoenix.

6 hours ago

(Photo by Jon Cherry/Getty Images)...

Danny Shapiro

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs pulls remaining director nominations, cites ‘partisan obstructionism’

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs announced Monday she withdrew the remaining director nominees from the Senate confirmation process, saying partisanship had forced her to find other means to fill the roles.

7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Home moving relocation in Arizona 2023...

BMS Moving

Tips for making your move in Arizona easier

If you're moving to a new home in Arizona, use this to-do list to alleviate some stress and ensure a smoother transition to your new home.


Ignite Digital

How to unlock the power of digital marketing for Phoenix businesses

All businesses around the Valley hopes to maximize their ROI with current customers and secure a greater market share in the digital sphere.



Thank you to Al McCoy for 51 years as voice of the Phoenix Suns

Sanderson Ford wants to share its thanks to Al McCoy for the impact he made in the Valley for more than a half-decade.

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