Fascist Arizona Senator Proposes Law That Would Make Filming the Police a Crime

Senator-John-KavanaghBy John Vibes

Last week, Arizona State Senator John Kavanagh introduced Senate Bill 1054, which would make it effectively illegal to film police. Under the terms of the bill, filming police would only be legal under very specific circumstances, and would require citizens to stop filming if a police officer orders them to.

The bill also specifies that it would be illegal to film a police officer from a distance of less than 20 feet. These requirements give police the power to easily prevent people from filming them if they are engaging in activities that they don’t want reaching the public.

If a police officer wants someone to stop filming them, all that they have to do is tell the person to stop, or chase after the person and reach an area within 20 feet of them. At that point, it would be illegal for the person to continue filming, and it would also be illegal for them to put more distance between themselves and the officer, because they could be charged with “resisting arrest” or a similar infraction. The 20-foot distance may be specified, but it is more or less irrelevant because there is a clause in the bill that allows an officer to “determine” if the person should stop filming.


According to the fine print of the bill:

A. IT IS UNLAWFUL FOR A PERSON TO KNOWINGLY MAKE A VIDEO RECORDING OF LAW ENFORCEMENT ACTIVITY, INCLUDING THE HANDLING OF AN EMOTIONALLY DISTURBED PERSON, IF THE PERSON MAKING THE VIDEO RECORDING DOES NOT HAVE THE PERMISSION OF A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER AND IS WITHIN TWENTY FEET OF WHERE THE LAW ENFORCEMENT ACTIVITY IS OCCURRING. IF THE LAW ENFORCEMENT ACTIVITY IS OCCURRING IN AN ENCLOSED STRUCTURE THAT IS ON PRIVATE PROPERTY, A PERSON WHO IS AUTHORIZED TO BE ON THE PRIVATE PROPERTY MAY MAKE A VIDEO RECORDING OF THE ACTIVITY FROM AN ADJACENT ROOM OR AREA THAT IS LESS THAN TWENTY FEET AWAY FROM WHERE THE ACTIVITY IS OCCURRING, UNLESS A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER DETERMINES THAT THE PERSON IS INTERFERING IN THE LAW ENFORCEMENT ACTIVITY OR THAT IT IS NOT SAFE TO BE IN THE AREA AND ORDERS THE PERSON TO STOP RECORDING

B. THIS SECTION DOES NOT ESTABLISH A RIGHT OR AUTHORIZE ANY PERSON TO MAKE A VIDEO RECORDING OF LAW ENFORCEMENT ACTIVITY.

C. A VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION IS A PETTY OFFENSE, EXCEPT THAT IF THE PERSON FAILS TO COMPLY WITH A VERBAL WARNING OF A VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION OR HAS PREVIOUSLY BEEN CONVICTED OF A VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION, IT IS A CLASS 3 MISDEMEANOR.

Although the Supreme Court has continued to uphold the right to film police, First Amendment violations seem to be on the increase as cameras become more commonplace. Police chiefs and police unions across the country have been unanimously opposed to citizens filming police, and have blamed YouTube for everything from rising crime rates to terrorism. In fact, police have begun using the term “YouTube effect” to describe the growing mistrust of law enforcement.

However, cameras are simply capturing the reality of police encounters, and showing how officers actually behave when they interact with people.

Had a camera not been rolling when office Michael Slager murdered Walter Scott by shooting him in the back multiple times as he ran, Slager would still be on the street and Scott would have been painted as a criminal.

This is why cops don’t want to be filmed.

Last year, Texas Representative Jason Villalba (R-Dallas), proposed HB 2918, which would have turned private citizens who film police into criminals. When the internet reacted, Villalba was exposed for the tyrant that he is and the bill was killed.

Please share this article with everyone so that we can expose this tyrant who would remove freedom of speech as well as the only effective tool the citizens have for holding police accountable.

John Vibes is an author and researcher who organizes a number of large events including the Free Your Mind Conference. He also has a publishing company where he offers a censorship free platform for both fiction and non-fiction writers. You can contact him and stay connected to his work at his Facebook page. You can purchase his books, or get your own book published at his website www.JohnVibes.com.

  • Dan Bronson

    Traitor. Hang him.

    • Roberto Enrique Benitez

      So your answer to anyone who suggests a terribly bad, even unconstitutional. law is to murder them? By the way, do you have any clue as to what constitutes treason?

      • Mike

        Soooo…..You, like Barack, are a constitutional lawyer? (except he is a Kenyan?)

  • Bill Boinkr

    Wow what a tyrannical POS this guy is

  • leevitowt

    He not only said this out loud, he put it in writing. Reminds me of this…

    • Sam Turner

      Hopefully this idiot will have a heart attack

      • Mike

        Never be that lucky. Look how long Harry and Nancy and Ol’Lady Feinstein have been around. Aren’t they in their 90s?

  • rhondareichel

    WOW….I expected this from Arizona but Dallas too????
    The people in both places must be too stupid to live electing this kind of scum.

  • rhondareichel

    when will people learn to respect the constitution?

    • Hartbreaker

      Only when they are made to.

  • Harlock

    This jackass is a former cop which says a lot. He also represents a wealthy district with a history of meth problems. He probably doesn’t want the parents of the poor little rich kids there getting embarrassed when their kids get busted. Here is Kavanagh’s phone number, let him know people don’t support this crap. (602) 926-5170

    • Roberto Enrique Benitez

      Sadly, I believe he’s also a Republican.

      • Merlinever

        Political party affiliations have lost all significance.

        • Roberto Enrique Benitez

          There’s a lot of truth to that. Thanks.

          It seems that the GOP as a whole, but not all members, has lost sight of its original principles of smaller non-intrusive government, fiscal sanity, lower taxation, and individual liberty.

          • Merlinever

            I agree. It’s not all of the GOP that’s the problem, but enough of them are to rob the title “Republican” of its original meaning and value. The Rhinos are rampant.

          • Roberto Enrique Benitez

            I totally agree. It seems that Cavanagh is one of those RHINOs. It saddens me to see how many in the Grand Old Party no longer hold to its original principles supporting individual rights and initiative, and defending people from an abusive near police state.

  • Hartbreaker

    “UNLESS A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER DETERMINES THAT THE PERSON IS INTERFERING IN THE LAW ENFORCEMENT ACTIVITY OR THAT IT IS NOT SAFE TO BE IN THE AREA AND ORDERS THE PERSON TO STOP RECORDING”
    How does the presence of a recording device that is on affect whether or not it is “safe” or “interfering”? Nothing changes in regard to the person’s location but because he held up a camera, it has suddenly become dangerous for him to be there.

  • doucyet

    It should be illegal to NOT film police if you’re in possission of a camera.

  • Alice

    The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws. That quote from Tacitus says it all.

  • Last week, Arizona State Senator John Kavanagh introduced Senate Bill 1054, which would make it effectively illegal to film police
    Jct: At least his deviance is on record forever.

    • LeslieFish

      I foresee a growth in the covert-camera industry. Is anyone building tiny cameras with telescopic lenses that can be disguised as jewelry, belt buckles, tie-tacks, etc.?

  • gawain

    Another communist ‘politician’ getting a back door pay raise.
    Put the coppers above the fray – nuthin but a bunch of paid thugs to incarcerate the common horde.
    government it the worst investment I have ever been swindled out of.

  • Jr1776

    Why are the police afraid ?

    • Merlinever

      They’re afraid of being caught violating a citizen’s constitutional and/or civil rights. But what this law is really about is control; too many cops, and politicians, are control freaks.

  • ONTHE WALL

    Total bullshit. Did all you police turn democratic over night. This can only harm the police who do nothing wrong but protect the police who do something wrong. One question does this include newspaper people with their telephoto camera lenses that 20 feet don’t mean crap?

  • MaranathaMark

    Why would anyone have a problem with a 3rd party (citizen) videoing law enforcement?! The police video us with they dash cam without our permission, right?! If we can’t video tape law enforcement actions in public, then why does municipalities get to video our everyday lives via the traffic cameras, and other surveillance cameras?!?! I am for a law prohibiting traffic cameras and surveillance cameras pointed towards the public streets & highways, as well as prohibiting surveillance drones, but if a citizen wants to video any law enforcement or govt agencies activities in public, that should be legal!!!

  • Nunnyah Biz

    Next we won’t even be allowed to dial 911 anymore!

  • Seedman

    It would seem to be nerve wracking enough for police to deal with law breakers without having bystanders close in on them while pointing metal devices. Those who have Obama phones and time on their hands because of government assistance might disagree.

  • Ronald Minnick

    How about we let the police have their camera’s and the civilians have theirs both with the ability to film as they wish. This would allow civilian to keep the police in line with there duties and allow police to show that they used proper procedures. I think it a win, win for both unless your a criminal or a bad cop.

    • Merlinever

      Excellent comment!

  • bikerscholar

    It seems to me that the presence of a camera would cut both ways, with the potential to either excuse and justify police action, or, on occasion, to prove something illegal went down. It is easy to understand why police unions would oppose their being filmed, but the truth is, open and honest is always the best way.
    .I

  • BillSaidIt

    Fair trade – put down camera, pick up gun. Either one is called a freedom here in the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

  • LeslieFish

    Kill Bill 1054 — and impeach Kavanaugh.

  • Publius3

    Another issue are police body cams. Police can “edit on the fly” by simply turning their body camera off and on, and then have that body cam video admitted as “evidence” even though it has been edited at the “officers discretion.”

  • meredit

    Had to laugh at this. While visiting my journalist daughter in the Middle East (she was in Iraq from 2002 to the end, now in Egypt) she repeatedly warned me not to photograph the police. She said they’d arrest me. Yikes, I still have that one shot by the pyramids burning a hole in my hard drive. The point is totalitarian regimes do that, not constitutional republics.

  • Sam

    Do they have something to hide? That is the only reason that I can see why they would not want to be videoed!

  • Flyby

    Why din’t state senator kavanagh introduce this years ago? This could have saved countless policemen that have wrongly shot or abused innocent citizens years in jail.

    • Roberto Enrique Benitez

      It’s been proposed, and even passed before. But the supreme Court invalidated such laws.

      • Flyby

        The comment I made was said tongue in cheek. It’s ridiculous to even contemplate such a law, but I don’t think they’re as effective at their job being followed around by paparazzi.

        • Roberto Enrique Benitez

          I guess the satire went over my head. Thanks for the reply.

  • charlie baker

    I seriously doubt such a law would ever be passed, but even if it was, with all the cameras and gadgets out there today, no law would even put a dent in what is clearly a modern trend: Taping cops in action. We should be suspicious of any public servant who would propose something like this. VOTE HIM OUT next time around.

    • Roberto Enrique Benitez

      Excellent reply. Sadly, I think he’s a Republican.

      • Merlinever

        Sadly, I think you;re a liberal.

        • Roberto Enrique Benitez

          Why is that? Is it because I believe that government has no authority beyond the Constitution? I’m a conservative constitutionalist curmudgeon CLASSICAL Liberal on the order of Smith, Locke, Hobbes, Burke, Montesquieu, and Jefferson.

          So please explain to me, what liberal stance did I support and what do you believe constitute conservatism?

          • Merlinever

            Because you wrote that you thought it was sad that someone else was a “Republican”, indicating that you considered the title itself generally demeaning…….
            as is the standard mindset among today’s liberals.

          • Roberto Enrique Benitez

            What? That’s quite a convoluted conclusion. I never wrote anything close to that. Please reread it in context of the conversation SLOWLY. I’m happen to be a CONSERVATIVE registered Republican. So to me it’s sad that a supposed “Republican” as Cavanagh claims to be would stray SO FAR from traditional Republican principles such as STRONGLY supporting the Bill of Rights.

            Had I said, “He’s a typical Republican”, “But he’s a Republican”, “Like someone ELSE he’s a Republican”, or “He’s another Republican” you would’ve had a case. But I never said or implied any of those. OK?

      • riverstrat .

        Hey Roberto , I googled your moniker out of curiosity to see
        if you were just using the name or if it was yours, hate to talk to
        George Washington for weeks, then find out it really is or….lol
        Anyway this turned out to be a fairly current topic coincidentally.
        The overall militarization of police and the military-state trend
        is very disturbing, from Police Home Invasions, to Asset forfeiture,
        Tazers, illegal spying, we are beyond Orwell’s 1984 by 100 years…
        I read your comment on Obama the ‘Constitutional lawyer/professor’.
        I have believed the same thing since the creation of the completely
        Un Constitutional Forced Health Care Coverage Act, as well as
        when he called the Constitution an imperfect document…..
        ‘Flawed’ …. , the flaw is that he was and is able to subvert it as a
        constant Oathbreaker.

  • Roberto Enrique Benitez

    Are you a pimp?

  • wmagg

    the only ones who fear being videoed are those who are committing criminal acts
    or those who fear their lies will be exposed.

  • wolfman113

    One more step to KILL our rights! How was this fascist elected? The heat must have affected voters!

  • fcutch

    The police can join their partners, the politicians in crushing the rights of the people. Sen Kavanagh needs to go

  • Matthew Bowman

    What will we do with all the Obama phones if we cannot film the police?

  • Mike

    Maybe he likes to do a little drinking and driving and he doesn’t want someone filming the cops picking him up before he can use his influence to cover it up?

  • Harry Figgers

    He cannot erase our First Amendment rights with a stroke of his pen! Law enforcement has to be held accountable, and if they’re this paranoid they’ve just indicted themselves. If they’re doing their job WITHIN THE LAWS OF OUR LAND there’s nothing to fear. CYA is not O.K.

  • sleepergirl

    Kavanagh is my district senator in AZ and I voted for him. His background is in law enforcement at all levels. However, I told him I was gobsmacked when I saw this article with this proposal bill. My family has suffered police abuse in NJ (of all places!) and I think we citizens need protection from the police.

  • Obie Miller

    If we let this idea get started with videos, it will inevitably be expanded upon. Mr Vibes used the word “fascist” and I believe it properly fits in this situation.

  • Jerry Dixon

    How did this moron Kavanagh ever become a senator? He must be related to Obama, another guy that wants to step on the rights of Americans. The fact that people video taping event protects others it also prevents law enforcement from over stepping there boundaries. Kavanagh I guess supports the violation of the peoples rights and there safety at the hands of police officers.He needs to be voted out of office he is a danger to all Americans that wish to live free without being controlled by government.

  • riverstrat .

    Welcome to the 3rd Reich all over again, why are these jack boot idiots in positions
    of power?

  • riverstrat .

    Do you like how they threw this into the text :
    “INCLUDING THE HANDLING OF AN EMOTIONALLY DISTURBED PERSON…”
    Right , this is the ‘bow’s and ribbons’ part, ‘save teh children’ blsht.

Thank you for sharing.
Follow us to receive the latest updates.

Like Us On Facebook
Follow Us On Twitter