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posted by janrinok on Tuesday April 07 2015, @12:49PM   Printer-friendly
from the 'give-me-your-Bill'-said-the-officer dept.

In the light of the heated discussions about a certain bill signed in Indiana, here is a more refreshing news about a proposed bill in Colorado. The state of Colorado is considering a bill that outlines punishments for police officers who interfere with photographers. House Bill 15-1290 is titled "Concerning Prohibiting A Peace Officer From Interfering With A Person Lawfully Recording A Peace Officer-Involved Incident".

The bill states that if a person is lawfully documenting a police officer and then has their imagery seized or destroyed without a warrant, they are entitled to $15,000 for actual damages plus attorney fees and costs. The bill also would be applied when a police officer intentionally interferes with a person's ability to capture images.

It seems the bill came up as a result of the number of news reports about police officers telling people "Give me your camera", or taking the data away.

The story is covered further in The Denver channel and PetaPixel.

 
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  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Arik on Tuesday April 07 2015, @02:15PM

    by Arik (4543) on Tuesday April 07 2015, @02:15PM (#167449) Journal
    The whole idea, unfortunately, fails. The new law is unlikely to ever be enforced, for all the same reasons that the many already existing laws on the books will not be. Prosecutors are deathly afraid to offend the police.

    If they were not, there would be no need for this law, prosecutors would *already* have cops in the dock all across the country under charges starting with deprivation of civil rights under color of law, and continuing in many cases with asault and theft via threat.

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  • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Tuesday April 07 2015, @05:17PM

    by hemocyanin (186) on Tuesday April 07 2015, @05:17PM (#167504) Journal

    I haven't read the law but there is a huge clue that says it isn't going to work that way: attorney fees. Note that there is no mention of jail time. This sounds like they are creating a private __civil__ cause of action. No prosecutor involved anywhere. You get your camera trashed, go hire a private attorney and sue. If you win, the city pays you $15k and whatever it cost to sue it (legal fees and costs).

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by hemocyanin on Tuesday April 07 2015, @05:22PM

      by hemocyanin (186) on Tuesday April 07 2015, @05:22PM (#167507) Journal

      Yep -- so I RTFA'd:

      The summary indicates:

      The bill creates a private right of action against a peace officer's employing law enforcement agency if a person records an incident involving a peace officer and a peace officer destroys the recording or seizes the recording without receiving consent or obtaining a warrant or if the peace officer intentionally interferes with the recording or retaliates against the person making the recording. The person who recorded the peace officer incident is entitled to actual damages, a civil penalty of $15,000, and attorney fees and costs.

      • (Score: 2) by Arik on Tuesday April 07 2015, @06:06PM

        by Arik (4543) on Tuesday April 07 2015, @06:06PM (#167513) Journal
        A good correction, but unfortunately the idea still fails.

        Even without the prosecutor involved, courts are still loathe to mess with police, but even if it works perfectly as written, so what?

        The award comes out of the taxpayers pocket, not the offenders. And if you think a $15k judgement will get someone fired, think again. Many cops around the country have triggered much larger payouts and it's extremely rare to see one lose their job over it.
        --
        If laughter is the best medicine, who are the best doctors?
        • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Tuesday April 07 2015, @07:09PM

          by FatPhil (863) <pc-soylentNO@SPAMasdf.fi> on Tuesday April 07 2015, @07:09PM (#167545) Homepage
          They'll just need to confiscate more stuff that they think may be the fruits of illegal activity (so-called civil forfeiture) in order to recoup their losses. That camera looks valuable...
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        • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Tuesday April 07 2015, @07:21PM

          by hemocyanin (186) on Tuesday April 07 2015, @07:21PM (#167552) Journal

          I agree that the officers should face personal consequences, but the flip side of that is that if the officer is judgment proof, and the law did not specifically say you can sue the police department, it might actually be weaker because you couldn't collect anything. Plus without the law, their would sovereign immunity issues most probably.

          So -- is it perfect? No. Does it address the problem? Yes, in the most important way possible: front page headlines specifically pointing out that it is legal to video cops. The teeth it has are to make that headline happen.

  • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Tuesday April 07 2015, @07:10PM

    by DeathMonkey (1380) on Tuesday April 07 2015, @07:10PM (#167546) Journal

    The whole idea, unfortunately, fails. The new law is unlikely to ever be enforced, for all the same reasons that the many already existing laws on the books will not be. Prosecutors are deathly afraid to offend the police.
     
    This bill allows citizens to sue directly over infractions. No prosecutor required