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.
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.
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.