The resolution has the lengthy title of, Expressing the sense of Congress that the videotaping or photographing of police engaged in potentially abusive activity in a public place should not be prosecuted in State or Federal courts.
Since the Rodney King incident, cameras have become smaller and easier to carry. More and more citizens are getting clips of abuses by police on camera and uploading them to YouTube and other online video sources. Police arrests and violence against those camera operators has increased. Police abuses are worse during Bilderberger events, G20, and the like, conferences and in areas with “emergency” situations such as New Orleans.
Of course, this is a resolution and not a binding law. State laws could even trump any federal law enacted, but at least one legislator sees is willing to bring it to the forefront of discussion. There are no co-sponsors to the bill, as yet.
This would not apply to taking videos or photos of foreign military troops, presumably, and certainly not military installation and military police unless they are on the streets of a city.
The text of the resolution is short and worth repeating.
Expressing the sense of Congress that the videotaping or photographing of police engaged in potentially abusive activity in a public place should not be prosecuted in State or Federal courts.
Whereas prosecutors in several States are applying State wiretapping laws in the prosecution of individuals for the videotaping of police engaged in potentially abusive activity;
Whereas State and Federal wiretapping laws were not intended to be used for such charges;
Whereas some police departments have been using national security as a justification for the harassment, charges, or an arrest of individuals, based solely on a citizen recording, with no additional factors considered;
Whereas a study conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2000 indicated that 22 percent of police officers claim their fellow officers sometimes, often, or always use excessive force; and
Whereas the privacy and safety rights of the police officers in the line of duty must be balanced carefully with the public’s right to transparency and accountability of public servants: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That it is the sense of Congress that–
(1) citizen recording fills in gaps in existing checks against law enforcement abuses, when balanced with the needs of law enforcement, police privacy, and citizen privacy;
(2) national security alone is insufficient justification for harassment, charges, or an arrest for otherwise innocent behavior, such as videotaping; and
(3) members of the public have a right to observe, and if they choose, to make video or sound recordings of the police during the discharge of their public duties, as long as they do not physically or otherwise interfere with the officers’ discharge of their duties, or violate any other State or Federal law, intended to protect the safety of police officers, in the process of the recording.