Legislator: Police Can’t Interfere With Citizens Recording Events On Public Land
LITTLE ROCK (KFSM) – A state representative has filed a bill to ensure the rights of Arkansas citizens are protected while recording events that take place on public property, even if they involve police officers.
Rep. Richard Woman, R-Arkadelphia, filed the bill (named HB 1669) on March 5 at 1:33 p.m., according to legislative records.
If passed, HB 1669 would prohibit public officers or employees from interfering with citizens that are recording events taking place on public property, the bill states. Citizens may not be stopped from recording by way of threats, coercion, direct order, arrest, detention or use of force, according to the bill.
“A public officer or employee shall not prohibit a person from using a recording device carried on or near the person in a place that is open to and accessible to the general public or any private property where the person is lawfully present,” the bill states.
The legislation does list some exceptions to police being prohibiting from stopping recordings. They may interfere with citizens recording if:
- The person recording presents a risk to the physical safety of anyone present, not including the person making the recording
- The person recording constitutes an element of a criminal offense
- The recording could reasonably be expected to lead to the infringement of copyrighted material
- The person recording unreasonably obstructs or inhibits another person’s lawful presence of movement
Police are also not allowed to delete any electronic data from a recording device against the wishes of the recorder, the bill states. If passed, the bill would also prohibit police from seizing or confiscating the recording device of a citizen documenting an event on public land.
If the bill becomes law, it would allow citizens whose recording rights are violated to file a lawsuit against the public officer or employee who violated their rights.
To read the bill, click here.