California lawmakers took a step forward in protecting citizens who record or photograph the actions of police ‒ but do not obstruct their duties ‒ from reprisals by law enforcement, passing legislation out of committee.
The Senate Public Safety Committee unanimously approved State Bill 411 on Tuesday. The legislation would clarify two current laws ‒ Penal Codes 69 and 148, obstruction charges that are frequently used against citizens recording cops ‒ by adding language to those laws specifying that recording cops is not a violation of them.
“Our Constitution guarantees us all the fundamental right to freedom of speech,” Democratic state Senator Ricardo Lara said in a statement. “Recent events throughout the country and here in California have raised questions about when an individual can – and can’t – record. SB 411 will help erase ambiguity, enhance transparency and ensure that freedom of speech is protected for both civilians and police officers.”