War on Cameras

Texas Legislator Proposes Criminalizing Filming Police Up Close

Interference as an excuse for censorship.

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BACK! BACK, FOUL DEMONSPAWN!
Credit: See-ming Lee ??? SML / photo on flickr

Texas Representative Jason Villalba (R-Dallas) seems to think that the problem between the relationship between the police and the citizenry is on the citizenry end. They keep bugging police by trying to film them, you see? So he's introducing legislation in Texas to make it a crime to film police officers up close.

House Bill 2918 would provide exceptions for licensed television and radio outlets as well as newspapers (but not blogs or online news sites). Everybody else would have to record police from a distance no closer than 25 feet. If the officer is "carrying a handgun," then non-media folks cannot record any closer than 100 feet.

Villalba defended the bill as asking "filmers to stand back a little so as not to interfere with law enforcement." It also obviously has the impact of forbidding anybody who is directly interacting with the police from recording the incident. He seems to be acting as though it's only bystanders jumping in to get up in officers' faces to record them, not whomever is actually dealing with them. This means in potential cases of police abuse, if there are no eyewitnesses around (at least 25 feet back), citizens would not be allowed to document their own mistreatment.

It's not clear to me whether Villalba's bill has a chance to actually get anywhere. The Houston Chronicle reminded its readers that the courts have ruled that citizens have the right to film the police.

(Hat tip to Will)

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44 responses to “Texas Legislator Proposes Criminalizing Filming Police Up Close

  1. Team Red fellates cops b/c LAWRNORDA!
    Team Blue fellates cops b/c YOUNIONDUES!

    Puke.

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  2. Too bad there isn’t some automatic penalty for sponsoring an unconstitutional bill.

    1. Yes.

    2. I propose that anyone who sponsors an unconstitutional bill be immediately fired. Out of a canon. Into the sun.

      1. +1 career chip

    3. Tarred, feathered and run out on a rail?

      It’s an oldie, but a goodie.

      1. “Is you is, or is you ain’t, my constituency?

    4. Supposedly, the Locrians (whoever they were) had a law by which “the person who came forward to propose a new law had a halter around his neck, so that in the event of the law not meeting the approbation of the people, he was immediately placed in the hands of the hangman.”

      (from Google Books)

      http://ow.ly/KiKBn

      1. I say, put the legislature over a shark tank, and if a legislator’s bill loses, release a trapdoor under his feet and squirt some blood into the tank.

        “And the bill fails.” “Aiiiiieeee!”

        1. Sharks with friggin lasers.

        2. Cruel to give sharks indigestion.

      2. I say, put the legislature over a shark tank, and if a legislator’s bill loses, release a trapdoor under his feet and squirt some blood into the tank.

        “And the bill fails.” “Aiiiiieeee!”

      3. interesting. “locrian” is also the seventh mode of the major scale. not my favorite.

  3. House Bill 2918 would provide exceptions for licensed television and radio outlets as well as newspapers

    So freedom of the press, but not freedom of speech?

    1. It excludes blogs and online media. So freedom of the approved press.

    2. Licensed news reporting firms are simply much easier to suppress than individuals with cameras and internet connections.

    3. The phrase “freedom of the press” refers to the printing press, not to an official journalistic entity called the press. It guarantees the freedom of the means of disseminating speech. So any attempts to restrict such regardless of who is using such means is blatantly and clearly unconstitutional.

      1. Ima have to go all MA Supreme Court on you and say that the founding fathers never conceived of modern video/sound recording equipment. So, its OK if you want to set up an easel and sketch/paint the encounter, but your ability to *film* an encounter is not protected by the constitution.

  4. Why not just create a 10 foot Constitution-free zone around every cop? If you’re in the zone, you have no civil liberties or rights.

    1. Such a zone already exists. Declaring it would simply be recognizing reality.

    2. If the law allowing cops to arrest everyone within sight upon finding any amount of any controlled substance are still good to go then the Constitution-free zone around every cop already extends far beyond 10 feet.

  5. Villalba seems like a real bellend.

  6. Figures Romney would like this turd.

    1. Romney was decent enough to remove himself from the 2016 race. So he has done one good thing during his career.

      1. Oh, wait, wrong “removing himself…

        Kynes was talking to a group that spread around him about open water, walking in the open without stillsuits, and portyguls, when Uliet, an experienced fighter, was sent with a consecrated knife to kill him, with two watermen to get his water from the body. Kynes said “Remove yourself” to Uliet who stood before him, and went on talking about secret windtraps, brushing past the man opening his for his ceremonial blow.

        Uliet inexplicably, in a riddling gesture, perhaps motivated by Kynes’ visionary words, walked three paces and deliberately fell on his own knife, thus “removing” himself.

  7. Can anyone confirm or deny that Rep. Villalba is in favor of this bill because he was filmed mid-coitus with a cow?

    1. I heard that he may or may not fuck sheep.

      1. I was going to go with sheep, but this is Texas. So I’m figuring his sexual proclivities tend towards cows, being the predominant farm animal and all.

        1. Only 2 things come from Texas, and he don’t look like a steer…

  8. See? The right is CLEARLY the party of liberty and should be embraced by libertarians everywhere…

    VOTE RICK SANTORUM, 2016!

    Anything else, is a vote for the oppression party.

    1. Is that dork Santorum running?!

      *hocks and spits*

  9. Filming cops is a 1st amendment right

    It’s that simple

    Thankfully people are doing it and cops are filming too (hey we are people too!)

    Of course interfering should be illegal but as long as you are standing several yards back it shouldn’t be and isn’t a problem

    Protect a cop!!!! Film him!!!

    1. Filming cops is a 1st amendment right.

      Probably.

      What there should be no doubt about is that it is a due process right. I can see no justification whatsoever for the state criminalizing the collection of potentially exculpatory evidence.

    2. Fuck off slaver

      Smooches

  10. Good to know ignorance of constitutional law and 2 centuries of legal precedent on federal preemption doesn’t preclude you from becoming a fucking lawmaker.

  11. I can’t help but think this dipshit saw Nightcrawler as the in-flight entertainment en route to some golf tournament and is now having fever dreams of greasy sociopaths messing up crime scenes… in rural Texas.

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  13. uptil I saw the draft that said $7695 , I didnt believe that my neighbour woz like they say actualy making money part-time from their computer. . there aunt haz done this for under twenty one months and just now cleard the depts on there condo and got themselves a Infiniti . visit site…..

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  14. “Texas Representative Jason Villalba (R-Dallas) seems to think that the problem between the relationship between the police and the citizenry is on the citizenry end.”
    Because IT IS!
    Not because of the citizens getting in the way of police trying to do their jobs by sticking a camera in their faces, but because the videos are, almost always, of the tail-end of an encounter where an individual fails to comply with police directions – as is required in an orderly society – and tries to resist police actions.
    The resultant video clip gives an incomplete accounting and is viewed mostly by those who have no concept of what goes on in law enforcement, leaving an inaccurate impression of the encounter.

    1. There’s always one.

  15. And the result of this well-thought-out amendment is a surge in sales for digital SLR camera bodies and telephoto lenses…

    You’ll only have yourself to thank for That, Jason Villalba!
    LOL!

    Oh, will you amend your bill to make THEM illegal for ‘private use,’ too?
    Sorry… already got mine. Gonna try to confiscate it on the grounds I MIGHT use it to take a photo of a police person?

    Zeig Heil, asshole.

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