Don't make filming cops a crime!
This petition made change with 42 supporters!
Texas State Rep. Jason Villalba (R-Dallas County) has introduced a bill, Texas House Bill No. 2918, that would make it a misdemeanor for the public to film the police within 25 feet. If this bill were to become law, it would have a chilling effect against members of the public who might otherwise record the only available evidence of police brutality events.
Videos by members of the public documenting the killings of Walter Scott, Eric Garner and Oscar Grant, among many others, provide important evidence against egregious police abuses. Yet if those incidents had been filmed in a jurisdiction where a bill like Rep. Villalba's had been in place, the brave citizen journalists would have been committing a crime.
Rep. Villalba may believe he has the best intentions in mind. But the result would be the suppression of our First Amendment rights and our ability to hold the police accountable. Police serve to protect us, not brutalize us - and we should be able to document such instances when they happen.
Rep. Villalba, please retract your bill from the Texas State House.
(Photo courtesy of Thomas Hawk, used under Creative Commons license BY-NC 2.0)
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