Don’t Infringe on the Right to Record Police Brutality

Target: Gérard Larcher, President of the French Senate

Goal: Demand veto of laws which restrict French citizens’ abilities to record police committing violent acts.

France’s parliament has passed a draconian new security law which makes filming police, even in the act of attacking or assaulting others, an offense punishable by up to a year in prison and a €45,000 fine ($53,700). After passing through the National Assembly, the lower chamber, the Global Security Bill will pass to the Senate for final approval. A coalition of politicians, journalists, community leaders, activists, and legal experts have argued that, if passed into law, the bill would severely restrict press freedom and the legal rights of French citizens and empower police to act without fear of punishment or oversight.

While the bill was being debated, members of the paramilitary Gendarmerie sparked a national outrage after they reportedly horrifically beat a Black music producer with no provocation, with video footage proving essential for publicizing the story. In January, witness footage was used as crucial evidence in the trial of police officers for the death of 42-year old Cédric Chouviat, who repeated the phrase “I’m suffocating” several times as police knelt on his neck.

If the Global Security Bill is passed, attacks like these risk going unnoticed or unreported altogether, while members of the public and marginalized groups will be left vulnerable to infringement of their rights without recourse. Sign the petition below to demand that this bill be voted down.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. President,

For centuries, France has stood as a beacon of democracy and individual liberty, guaranteeing citizens of all origins respect, rights, and dignity under the law. Key to these liberties has been the power of the ordinary citizen to criticize the abuse of power, whether by politicians, private individuals, or members of the police.

The Global Security Bill, if passed into law, would be unprecedentedly destructive to basic rights, allowing French police to attack citizens without fear of being recorded or investigated. The power this bill would grant to even well-meaning police officers and officials would be an unacceptable violation of the principles and spirit of French law, leaving all citizens vulnerable to abuse without the means to alert the public. I demand that you lead your colleagues in the Senate in rejecting this dangerous legislation in order to protect the rights of all French citizens.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Rog01


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