Should filming the police be illegal?

CBS-Atlanta-Camera-Man-Filming-me-taking-a-pictureOne of the more interesting effects technology has had on criminal justice is the fact that people have cameras and are using them.  Smartphones are ubiquitous and they give common citizens a powerful tool to help them report any harmful activity.

But what about when citizens film the police?  Many proponents suggest that filming police activities provides a import check and balance and helps exposed unlawful behavior.

However, sadly, one politician in Texas has proposed a bill that would make filming police illegal.

Jason Villalba, Republican lawmaker, files bill restricting civilians from filming police

A Texas state representative proposed a bill on Tuesday that makes it a misdemeanor for private citizens to photograph or record police officers within 25 feet.

House Bill 2918, introduced by Republican state Rep. Jason Villalba, would make recording officers within 25 feet a class B misdemeanor, and private citizens who are armed would not be able to record within 100 feet of an officer, the Houston Chronicle reported.

The bill says only radio or television stations that hold an FCC license, or newspapers that are published at least once a week, or magazines that appear “at a regular interval” and are “of interest to the general public” can legally record the police within 25 feet.

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Villalba goes on to mention that he proposed the bill after he was prompted by police officers to do something to “protect them.”  Protect them from what?  If they are upholding the law and protecting our families, then what is there to be scared of?

It is amazing to many lawyers that these laws keep getting passed, but have been repeatedly struck down. More feel good laws.


Justin McShane

PA DUI attorney Justin J. McShane is the President/CEO of The McShane Firm, LLC - Pennsylvania's top criminal law and DUI law firm. He is the highest rated DUI attorney in PA as rated by Justin McShane is a double Board certified attorney. He is the first and so far the only Pennsylvania attorney to achieve American Bar Association recognized board certification in DUI defense from the National College for DUI Defense, Inc. He is also a Board Certified Criminal Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, a Pennsylvania Supreme Court Approved Agency.

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