Sep 10, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Federal judge blocks Arizona law prohibiting up-close police filming

Smoke and tear gas fills the air around trapped drivers as police advance upon demonstrators after a rally by President Donald Trump at the Phoenix Convention Center.

Police advance upon demonstrators after a Trump rally in Phoenix. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

A federal judge has blocked an Arizona law that restricts how people can film police officers, the Associated Press reports.

Why it matters: The judge's ruling aligns with the American Civil Liberties Union and media organizations who said the new law violates the First Amendment.

Details: U.S. District Judge John J. Tuchi issued a preliminary injunction Friday that will stop the new law, per AP.

Zoom in: The law, which was meant to go into effect on Sept. 24, makes it illegal to film police officers from 8 feet away or closer if the law enforcement officer asks you to stop, according to Axios Phoenix's Jessica Boehm.

  • Officers can order people to stop recording if the area is unsafe or if an officer thinks someone is interfering in the situation.
  • Those filming can receive a misdemeanor charge if an officer is handling a disorderly or emotionally disturbed person.

What they're saying: “We are extremely gratified that Arizonans will not have their constitutional rights infringed and their ability to record the police criminalized by this law,” said KM Bell, an ACLU attorney, per AP.

What's next: The ACLU and media groups are seeking a permanent injunction, AP reports.

Go deeper: ACLU, media sue Arizona over law prohibiting up-close police filming

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