Bill would give public the right to record police activities | Legislature 2022

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Hawaiian lawmakers are seeking to clarify the public’s right to film or take photos of law enforcement without fear of being threatened with arrest or having their recording destroyed.

representing Roy Takumiwho presented House Bill 1591 Friday said that while the First Amendment allows the public to photograph and film law enforcement on duty, that right is not spelled out in state law. Takumi said his bill clarified to the public that unless they interfere with an arrest or investigation, police are prohibited from stopping a recording.

A measure pending in the House would clarify the public’s right to register police officers. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2021

“To make it crystal clear that people know they can check in on the police as long as they don’t interfere,” Takumi said.

If passed, the law codifies that law enforcement would violate a person’s civil rights if police arrested, seized, destroyed, searched, convicted, or arrested someone for recording law enforcement activities. law.

It also clarifies that officers must ask permission from the person behind the camera or get approval from a judge if they want a copy of the recording. The measure also paves the way for citizens to sue the police if they believe their rights under this new provision are being violated.

“The police should know better that people have the right to record, but in the heat of the moment people tend to behave in ways they shouldn’t,” Takumi said. “It’s hard work being a police officer, but none of the bad actors out there, we shouldn’t tolerate that either.”

Takumi noted that it was bystander footage that helped shed light on the high-profile deaths of Eric Garner in 2014 and George Floyd in 2020. Both men died in police custody.

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