A Texas legislator wants to make it a camera free buffer zone around law enforcement.
Say you are in the back seat of a car and you are pulled over by a police officer. Because you are not sure why you were stopped and are not sure what to expect from the officer, you begin videorecording with your phone.
If that happened in Texas, do you think you would deserve to spend up to 180 days in jail? Would you deserve to be shaken down for $2,000 to go into state coffers?
Let’s change the scenario slightly. Imagine that you are pulled over and start videorecording and you happen to be carrying a weapon as your concealed carry permit allows you to do. Would you deserve to spend a year in jail and lose $4,000 to the state government?
If a new bill passes in the Texas state legislature, that is exactly what will happen.
What kind of arrogant, unamerican tyrants come up with these ideas?
A bill that would require civilians to stand back between 25 and 100 feet before recording and documenting police activity, introduced by Texas Representative Jason Villalba (R-Dallas) earlier this month, has caused significant controversy. HB 2918 would create a 25-foot buffer zone around police activity requiring citizens to film outside of that area. For an individual filming while also carrying a handgun, the buffer zone would be extended to 100 feet. A person caught filming inside of the 25-foot zone could face 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine; a person filming while carrying a handgun inside the 100-foot zone could face up to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine.
Texas state law currently prohibits people from interfering with police activity.
Villalba wrote on Twitter that he introduced the bill to protect the police. Villalba also insisted that the bill does not prohibit filming. “I thought that was reasonable, 25 feet,” Villalba said. “I measured that out in my office. It didn’t seem to be terribly disruptive. I’m not trying to limit the ability to film. I don’t have any problems with that.”
Right. Unless you are inside a room with a cop. Unless you are pulled over in a car. What a generous concession.
The police already have power to arrest for obstruction and use police tape. So what is the meaning of depriving people in Texas of their basic freedom of the press, or of punishing them for carrying a firearm?
I pray Texas kills this bill.