Legislator: Police Can’t Interfere With Citizens Recording Events On Public Land

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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. 

6 comments

  • Bill

    The idiots out there are going to read half of this law, think they know their rights and start interfering with police officers that are just trying to do their job.

    • Rob

      Well, then those individuals will be subject to the clauses of the statute, but this bill is needed to make sure cops are “jut doing their job” and not exceeding their authority!

  • Arkajun

    If they can record us with their dash cams, chest cams, aerial drones and quadcopters, then we should be able to record them.

  • Fed-up

    I myself as a past law enforcement officer think this is a great idea. There is good cops and there are bad cops and there are innocent and guilty people in this world. These lawful recordings would provide proof of possible crime against citizens, could provide evidence not immediately present at the scene, also could saves lives in the event of a kidnapping, murder, robbery on an officer or someone standing near the scene of the crime or traffic stop. Body cams, dash cam and dash cam body mics can’t capture it all. I for one have been in situations where I was glad someone was recording what was going on because the situation could have been totally different cause a dash cam only captures from front of car and if I or suspect/subject are on the sides or rear or anywhere out of sight any cellphone footage to capture what is unfolding is paramount especially is a suspect was to kill me and his name and physical description weren’t available to responding units.

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