Federal Judge Blocks Arizona Law Restricting How Public Can Film Police

A federal judge has blocked an Arizona law that would restrict how the public can film police officers.

via Complex:

NBC News reports U.S. District Judge John J. Tuchi on Friday issued a preliminary injunction preventing the law from being enforced. Tuchi’s ruling sides with the American Civil Liberties Union and multiple media outlets, who argued the law violated the First Amendment.

The bill, which Gov. Doug Ducey signed into law on July 6, and was scheduled to go into effect on Sept. 24, would make it illegal in Arizona to knowingly film law enforcement from eight feet or closer without an officer’s permission. The punishment for violating the law is a misdemeanor that would likely incur a fine without jail time.

K.M. Bell, an attorney for the Arizona ACLU who lobbied against the legislation, told NBC News she’s glad the court is taking action to stop it. 

“We are extremely gratified that Arizonans will not have their constitutional rights infringed and their ability to record the police criminalized by this law,” Bell said. “Today’s ruling is an incredible win for our First Amendment rights and will allow Arizonans to continue to hold police accountable.”

She added, “At a time when recording law enforcement interactions is one of the best tools to hold police accountable, we should be working to protect this vital right – not undermine it.” 

Tuchi has given the Legislature one week to appeal his ruling, while the ACLU is seeking a permanent injunction.

The right to film law enforcement should be federally-protected.

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