The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a complaint over a controversial law that was recently passed in Arizona that limits filming of the police by the public.
The law, passed in July, makes it illegal to intentionally film the police within 8 feet (2.5 meters) without the officer’s consent. The law allows the police to order someone to stop filming, even when they are on private property, and have the owner’s consent. Breaking the law is a misdemeanor, carrying a fine without jail time.
The law was drafted by Republican state Rep John Kavanagh, a former police officer. He argued that the police should be allowed to do their work without interference, adding that people could still record the police from a safe distance.
ACLU and a group of news organizations have filed a complaint arguing that the law violates the First Amendment.
“This law is a violation of a vital constitutional right and will severely thwart attempts to build police accountability. It must be struck down before it creates irreparable community harm,” the ACLU wrote in a statement on its blog.
We obtained a copy of the complaint for you here.
The complaint claims that the law has “blatant constitutional issues” and some parts are too ambiguous.
The original version of the law was amended so that it only applies to certain types of police interactions, like the questioning of suspects. Additionally, the law does not apply to a person who is directly interacting with the police and someone in a car that has been stopped by the police.