Thursday, August 13, 2015

Gov. Brown Signs Bill Affirming the Right to Film Police in California

As I've previously written here, Californians have the legal right to film police while officers perform their official duties in public as long as the citizen does not obstruct or interfere with the performance of those duties.

On Tuesday, Gov. Brown signed SB-411 into law, which will amend the Penal Code to specifically affirm the right of citizens to film police.  Sections 69 and 148(a)(1) of the code will be amended to include the following language: "The fact that a person takes a photograph or makes an audio or video recording of a public officer or peace officer, while the officer is in a public place or the person taking the photograph or making the recording is in a place he or she has the right to be, does not constitute, in and of itself, a violation of [this code], nor does it constitute reasonable suspicion to detain the person or probable cause to arrest the person."

The law was drafted by the California Public Defenders' Association and supported by the ACLU and other civil rights groups.  There was no organized opposition.  Practically, the change will have no legal effect.  The act of filming police in public has always been legal in California (in the sense that it has never been illegal).  This bill merely clarifies and restates existing law.

If you have questions about your rights during encounters with police, please call our office for a free consultation.  (714) 505-2468.  Ask for John.  

Thanks for reading.