UPDATE: July 11, 2022 - Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) signed bill HB 2319 into law on July 6, 2022, banning people from recording police officers within 8 feet of a “law enforcement activity.”
From NPR: First Amendment advocates respond to a new Arizona law limiting recording of police
From Huffington Post: Arizona Law Restricts How People Can Record Police Officers
From Insider: New Arizona law that bans recording police within 8 feet will neuter the public's 'most effective tool against police wrongdoing,' activists say
Athens, GA - After the Arizona legislature has passed a bill that would make it unlawful for a photographer to record a police officer within 8 feet of the officer without permission, NPPA has written Arizona Gov. Douglas A. Ducey, asking him to veto the bill.
NPPA was joined by the Radio and Television Digital News Association (RTDNA), the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP), the Press Freedom Defense Fund (PFDF) and the twenty-three other organizations.
The bill, HB 2319, would make it “unlawful for a person to knowingly make a video recording of law enforcement activity if the person making the video recording does not have the permission of a law enforcement officer and is within eight feet of where the law enforcement activity is occurring” (emphasis added). Additional language regarding law enforcement activity occurring in an enclosed structure on private property permits a person who is authorized to be on the private property to “make a video recording of the activity from an adjacent room or area that is less than eight feet away from where the activity is occurring, unless a law enforcement officer determines that the person is interfering in the law enforcement activity or that it is not safe to be in the area and orders the person to stop recording or to leave the area” (emphasis added).
The bill violates the free speech and press clauses of the First Amendment and runs counter to the “clearly established right to photograph and record police officers performing their official duties in a public place, cited by all the odd-numbered U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal, including the Ninth Circuit” NPPA General Counsel Mickey Osterriecher wrote in the letter. All of these courts have held that police officers who are performing their duties in public have no reasonable expectation of privacy when it comes to being recorded.
The Arizona legislature adjourned on June 25, and the bill will become law if not vetoed by Gov. Ducey by July 7. NPPA is closely monitoring the situation.
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