A bill proposed in Florida, which is receiving widespread support from police, House Bill 11, filed by Rep. Alex Rizo, (R-Hialeah), could be yet another massive blow to your right to film the police.
According to the bill, anyone who is “hindering” law enforcement in their duties, which could include filming them with a cellphone, could be arrested, fined, and even imprisoned.
The loosely written language of the bill allows for rife abuse left up to the officer’s scope of discretion. According to the bill:
Approaching a law enforcement officer after a warning with intent to impede, provoke, or harass.— (1) As used in this section, the term “law enforcement officer” has the same meaning as in s. 943.10(1). (2)(a) It is unlawful for any person, after receiving a warning from a law enforcement officer not to approach, to violate such warning and approach or remain within 30 feet of a law enforcement officer who is engaged in the lawful performance of any legal duty with the intent to:
1. Interrupt, disrupt, hinder, impede, or interfere with the law enforcement officer’s ability to perform such duty;
2. Provoke a physical response from the law enforcement officer; or
3. Directly or indirectly harass the law enforcement officer.
(b) A person who violates this subsection commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 31 775.082 or s. 775.083.
Think about every police brutality video you have seen in which the person filming or bystander begs the officer to “stop beating him” or saying, “he didn’t do anything,” and consider the language in the bill above.
Telling officer Derek Chauvin to stop beating George Floyd easily could have been interpreted by the officers as an attempt to “interrupt, disrupt, hinder, impede, or interfere.”
What’s more the people who filmed Chauvin kill Floyd were much closer than 30 feet, which would have made all of them criminals according to this legislation.
“I think they are trying to hide something, like you don’t want people recording. Why, if you not doing nothing wrong?” Fort Lauderdale resident, Dushont Morrison told Local 10 when asked about this bill.
But those who support the bill claim it’s to protect cops from attacks.