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Citizens of Arizona can no longer Record Police within 8 feet

By: April Sheng

A law signed by Doug Ducey (the governor of Arizona) is set to go into an effect by September. This law bans people from recording police activity within 8 feet. However, plenty of citizens have criticized this. So, it comes down to this: should this law stay?

John Kavanagh, Arizona’s State Representative says that the law would prevent people from getting near dangerous areas and interrupting police activity. Furthermore, he believes there is little reason as to why bystanders should be within an 8 feet radius. “I can think of no reason why any responsible person would need to come closer than eight feet to a police officer engaged in a hostile or potentially hostile encounter,” Mr. Kavanagh wrote. “Such an approach is unreasonable, unnecessary and unsafe, and should be made illegal.”

Although those reasonings seemed pretty valid to some people, others such as civil rights groups and news media were not so keen on this law. They claimed that having recordings from bystanders boosted documents provided to the public of police activities. This includes the incident of George Floyd’s and Eric Garner’s deaths. It also happens to be an “important tool for holding police accountable for misconduct,” noted Alan Chen, a law professor at the University of Denver.

Whether you’re against it or not, the law does have exceptions for citizen’s private property. You are allowed to record within that 8 feet radius if you were in a vehicle being pulled over, or are being confronted by the police on your own property. However in every other situation, including for journalists, there are no exceptions.

The Supreme Court will decide on this law, but for now, when you are near police activity in Arizona, always remember to stay 8 feet apart.

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