California moves to protect citizens’ right to record, photo police

The police department in San Diego has seen fewer resident complaints, thanks to the use of body cameras on officers. But Texas legislators are less keen on officers’ movements being recorded so closely – they’re trying to make it a misdemeanor to film cops from a distance of 25 feet or less. Alexey Yaroshevsky and Lindsay France examine how police are attempting to compromise with the public.

Although the country is now paying more attention to the actions of police when interacting with the communities they serve, some have long surveilled law enforcement to provide transparency for the public. Jose Lasalle, founder of New York City’s Copwatch Patrol Unit, is one of these concerned citizens who has taken matters into his own hands.

California lawmakers took a step forward in protecting citizens who record or photograph the actions of police ‒ but do not obstruct their duties ‒ from reprisals by law enforcement, passing legislation out of committee.

The Senate Public Safety Committee unanimously approved State Bill 411 on Tuesday. The legislation would clarify two current laws ‒ Penal Codes 69 and 148, obstruction charges that are frequently used against citizens recording cops ‒ by adding language to those laws specifying that recording cops is not a violation of them. Read more

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