If you didn’t know, it is perfectly legal for you to record the police with a camera while they are doing their thing. However, a new bill that has been introduced into the Texas House of Representatives will challenge that right.
State Rep. Jason Villalba (R-Dallas) introduced House Bill 2918, which would make filming the police within 25 a misdemeanor. Citizens wishing to record police activities who are armed would be pushed back to 100 feet. Under this new bill, the only ones who would have the legal right to film the police would be individuals with newspapers or magazines as well as television or radio stations that hold a license with the FCC.
The bill would oppose a 2011 precedent set in an appeals court which ruled that citizens were allowed to film police. There were many opponents to this bill and they made their displeasure known on Twitter. Villalba chirped back on the social media site tweeting, “My bill … just asks filmers to stand back a little so as not to interfere with law enforcement.”
This bill definitely comes of the heels of the recent actions of protesters surrounding the killings of unarmed Black men such as Mike Brown, Eric Garner and more. Citizens have routinely filmed police while they are arresting or accosting fellow citizens on the street. If this bill passes through, it would be a huge blow to the rights of American citizens to document police brutality and excessive force for themselves and be a big advantage to police legally.