Crime & Justice

California bill would protect people who record police

A screenshot from a bystander video shows a police officer in McKinney, Texas, drawing his weapon on teens. A bill passed in the California legislature on Thursday, July 9, 2015, says recording or photographing police in public areas isn't enough to charge people with obstructing officers.
A screenshot from a bystander video shows a police officer in McKinney, Texas, drawing his weapon on teens. A bill passed in the California legislature on Thursday, July 9, 2015, says recording or photographing police in public areas isn't enough to charge people with obstructing officers.
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California's Assembly is advancing legislation meant to protect residents from retribution for recording police.

Lawmakers on Thursday approved SB411 on a 67-to-2 vote, sending it to Gov. Jerry Brown for his consideration.

The bill by Democratic Sen. Ricardo Lara of Bell Gardens says recording or photographing police in public areas isn't enough to charge people with obstructing officers. Civil liberties advocates say the practice is already legal, but the billmakes it explicit.

Advocates say cellphone video recordings are a valuable tool to expose police misconduct. Some officers have stopped people from recording their encounters with the public.

Residents who interfere with arrests or get in the way of police officers while recording still face punishment under Lara's bill.

Law enforcement groups did not officially oppose the bill.