Oblivious to the backlash that left a Texas politician looking like an unconstitutional buffoon last year, an Arizona senator is proposing to make it illegal to record cops from within 20 feet.
John Kavanagh, a republican who is also a retired cop, said such a law is necessary for officer safety.
He said he does not see a problem that such a law would make it illegal for citizens to record their own interactions with police, stressing that citizens do not have that right, despite the numerous court rulings that disagree.
According to Arizona Capitol Times:
The proposal by Sen. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, would bar shooting video within 20 feet of any “law enforcement activity” unless the officer first gave permission. A first offense would carry a $300 fine, with subsequent violations potentially sending someone to jail for up to six months.
As written, it would make a criminal out of those who take out a cell phone to videotape their own questioning by police as, by definition, they would be within 20 feet of what’s happening.
Kavanagh, however, doesn’t see that as a problem, saying there’s no inherent right to videotape your own interaction, particularly if that’s an arrest.
“If you’re the subject of a law enforcement activity, you’ve got to submit to the authority of the police officer, put your hands on the car, keep your hands out of your pocket,” he said. “You don’t pretend that the cop’s not there so you can do whatever you want.”
Kavanagh, who has served since 2007, apparently was not paying attention last year when Texas representative Jason Villalba introduce a bill that would have made it illegal to record cops within 25 feet.
Villalba, also a republican, ended up getting criticized from both sides of the political spectrum and quietly withdrew the bill a month later. And he is now facing a challenger for the March primary and will possibly lose his seat.
But Kavanagh, who spent 20 years as a cop in New York and New Jersey, apparently had his head up his ass last year because he is about to become the new poster child for police apologists – at a time when that is just not in style.