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A New Florida Bill Could Criminalize Filming Cops on the Job

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Billy Binion | 7.27.2021 5:05 PM

A new bill in the Florida House of Representatives would make it illegal to approach a cop within 30 feet if the officer warns the person not to do so, effectively criminalizing the filming of law enforcement at any close proximity.

The legislation, filed by Rep. Alex Rizo (R–Hialeah), would make it unlawful to "interrupt, disrupt, hinder, impede, or interfere" with a police officer within that radius. It would also criminalize "indirect[] harass[ment]." Whether or not someone crosses that line would be up to the discretion of the officer, and would be punishable by a $500 fine and up to 60 days in jail.

It is beyond debate that the public has a constitutional right to film police on the job. "There is a long line of First Amendment case law from the high court that supports the right to record the police," notes the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit that advocates for digital rights. "Federal appellate courts in the FirstThird, Fifth, Seventh, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuits have directly upheld this right."

One such........

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