If HB 15-1290 passes in the state of Colorado, cops who seize or destroy the recording device of anyone trying to film them in action will be penalized with a $15,000 fine.
Did you know? The man who recorded the video of Alton Sterling, Christopher LeDay, was arrested on July 6th for uploading the heartbreaking footage to Facebook.
An employee of a private security firm at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, Georgia, he was detained on bogus charges which have uprooted his life, relays NewsOne.
Though LeDay was later released, he is now fighting to keep his job.
As unfortunate as his situation is, it is very similar to Ramsey Orta’s, who was arrested last year for filming Eric Garner’s death.
As his attorney, Tiffany Simmons, says:
“He’s been punished for doing the right thing. He’s been punished for being a good Samaritan by showing this video and showing America that we have to look in the mirror and we have to change some things.”
Unfortunately, the fear of being arrested by police for filming police brutality has resulted in some activists holding back on capturing unjust behavior with their phones. If new legislation is passed in Colorado, however, that will no longer be a concern for citizens in the state.
Minds relays that lawmakers in Colorado are considering passing HB 15-1290, a bill that will penalize officers with a $15,000 fine every time they seize or destroy the recording device of anyone trying to film them in action.
Rep. Joe Salazar told the press:
“Primarily, it came up as a result of the number of news reports we’ve been seeing about police officers telling people, ‘Give me your camera,’ or taking the data away, and that is unacceptable conduct.”
The Democrat from Thornton made clear that the law isn’t to punish officers, but to protect citizens’ rights.
“It takes a very special person to be a police officer,” he said. “We want to honor them, but at the same time, we have a few bad apples who need to be aware that their conduct now has major, major consequences.”
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) affirms that civilians should be able to take photos or record video of things that are plainly visible in public. Doing so is a constitutional right that should be protected, not impeded, by law enforcement, says the ACLU.