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Breaking down new bill underscoring civilians’ right to record police activity

by AirTalk®

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A protestor pretends to talk on a cell phone as he taunts a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) police officer at the Civic Center station on August 15, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A California State Senator is looking to shore up protections for civilians who record police activity in public places.

He’s introduced Senate Bill 411, which Senator Lara says in a press release would reinforce civilian’s right to record police activity so long as they are in a public place where they have a right to be. It adds that police do not have the right to detain or arrest civilians for obstructing police because they are recording.

What could the impact of this bill be on local law enforcement agencies? Where does one draw the line between a civilian who is recording police activity and a civilian who is getting in the cops’ way?


Peter Bibring, Director of Police Practices & Senior Staff Attorney at the ACLU of Southern California

Peter Moskos, associate professor in the Department of Law at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a former Baltimore City police officer.

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