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Arizona makes it illegal for bystanders to record cops at close range [Updated]

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Arizona makes it illegal for bystanders to record cops at close range [Updated]

Enlarge (credit: Stephen Maturen / Stringer | Getty Images North America)

The same week that a federal judge sentenced ex-cop Derek Chauvin to more prison time for killing George Floyd, Arizona passed a law making it harder to record police by limiting how close bystanders can be while recording specified law enforcement activity. Chauvin was convicted in part because a recording showing his attack on Floyd at close proximity went viral. It was filmed by a teenager named Darnella Frazier while she was standing “a few feet away.”

The new Arizona law requires any bystanders recording police activity in the state to stand at a minimum of 8 feet away from the action. If bystanders move closer after police have warned them to back off, they risk being charged with a misdemeanor and incurring fines of up to $500, jail time of up to 30 days, or probation of up to a year.

Sponsored by Republican state representative John Kavanagh, the law known as H.B. 2319 makes it illegal to record police at close range. In a USA Today op-ed, Kavanagh said it is important to leave this buffer for police to protect law enforcement from being assaulted by unruly bystanders. He said “there’s no reason” to come closer and predicted tragic outcomes for those who do, saying, “Such an approach is unreasonable, unnecessary, and unsafe, and should be made illegal.”

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Ars TechnicaContinue reading/original-link]

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