Target: Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper
Goal: Support a fine for police found interfering with citizens’ attempts to film them.
A measure recently introduced in the Colorado Legislature would impose a $15,000 civil penalty on any police officer found interfering with citizens’ attempts to film them. The fine is not meant to penalize officers, but to make it clear that citizens have the right to film in public without being harassed. Support this important legislation protecting the rights of Americans.
Following a series of news reports in which citizens claimed their data or filming equipment was destroyed by police or that they were instructed to stop filming police interactions, Rep. Joe Salazar introduced the bill to reinforce that such behavior from officers is unacceptable.
American citizens maintain the right to film in public, a right which extends to the filming of civilians, public servants and government officials alike. In many instances, such recordings have illuminated the widespread nature of police misconduct. Citizen journalists can be an integral part of America’s justice system and deserve to be treated the same.
This bill is not an effort to undermine the brave men and women who work to protect and serve American citizens, but to provide transparency and reassurance to the public while making it clear to officers that their authority does not extend to disrupting citizen journalism because they wish not to be filmed. If officers are conducting themselves in a manner befitting their station, filming their interactions should be welcomed, not met with hostility.
Urge Colorado lawmakers to pass the Right to Record Bill to end the harassment of citizens exercising their right to document interactions in public.
Dear Governor Hickenlooper,
A bill recently introduced to the Colorado Legislature would fine police officers $15,000 in civil penalties for interfering with the filming of police in public. This bill is not intended to undermine police and their tireless efforts to improve the lives of Americans, but to reinforce that even police are not above the law and the rights of citizens and their property are inalienable.
Furthermore, police officers should not be wary of being filmed. In fact, they should welcome the opportunity to show the public why they’re proud to be members of the police force by conducting themselves professionally and courteously. It seems a dangerous sign of misconduct when officers react with hostility to being recorded.
I urge you to pass the Right to Record Bill and stand up for the rights of citizen journalists to document public servants sworn to act on their behalf.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Osvaldo Gago via Flickr