Arizona legislators approve ban on filming police

Arizona's Republican-majority legislature took one look at the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin and set out to make sure it could never happen there: accordingly, it's approved as total a ban on filming police as it thinks is constitutional. Refusal to comply when an officer orders you to stop recording could send you to jail.

The original proposal, crafted to prevent filming police under circumstances similar to Darnella Frazier's famous footage of Floyd's murder, has been sanded a little smoother. Amendments to the bill now mean that people in their own cars may film themselves interacting with police, and bystanders may film police from a distance. But the chilling threat—the new power of police to countermand First Amendment rights on the street—remains.

Democratic Minority Leader Reginald Bolding said that the measure is the wrong way to boost transparency and ease the perception in minority communities that they are not safe from police misconduct.

"One way to not do that is telling them that they cannot use their cellphones or do any type of recording unless it's within a specific set of guidelines," Bolding said during the vote.

The bill must pass in the Republican-majority Senate and be signed by the governor, also Republican, before becoming law.