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AZ lawmaker proposes anti-cop block bill

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According to a recent report from the Associated Press, Arizona lawmaker and (R) Senator John Kavanagh has written a bill that would require civilians with video cameras to stay at least 20-feet away from police in the process of enforcing the law.

Kavanagh explains that “videotaping law enforcement officers from close-range…are routinely endangering officers by distracting them while they’re engaged with suspects”. Senate Bill 1064 as it is labeled, “is needed to keep police from being endangered while investigating crimes” the senator insists.

One could see the value in allowing citizens and police to coexist this way, being able to record video at a safe distance while police do their jobs, however, backlash from Attorney Dan Pochoda of the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona calls the proposal unconstitutional stating that “courts have ruled people have a First Amendment right to videotape police…now a clearly established right in the (9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals) and most circuits in this country to observe and record the activity of law enforcement in public spaces”. He further argues that limiting a person’s proximity to the crime may inhibit sound quality.

Kavanagh argues that his purpose is not to infringe on people’s rights but to keep citizens and law enforcement safe, respectively, reminding Pochoda that “the First Amendment is subject to reasonable restriction”.

It seems reasonable to ask people respect some boundaries and take responsibility for their own safety while law enforcement does their job managing public safety.

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