Thursday, January 28, 2016
"It generated very emotional opposition on both sides," Kavanagh said. "That dooms a bill a bill to failure. Once a bill becomes so mired in controversy ... it's time to move on."
Among other issues, there was concern that the bill may have prevented individuals from recording their own interactions with police. Kavanagh said that had not been his intent with this bill.
The bill came at a time of increased scrutiny of police shootings nationwide, from Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., to Eric Garner in New York. In November, the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona launched Mobile Justice AZ, a free smartphone app that allows individuals to automatically send videos of law enforcement activity to the local ACLU if it appears someone's rights have been violated.
Kavanagh had initially said the proliferation of cellphones with video capability has created new concerns that must be addressed. He said his bill recognizes individuals' right to record law enforcement, but puts "reasonable restraints" on it.
"I'll go to my grave believing there's nothing wrong with requiring people who want to video police to stand 1.5 car lengths away," he said.
First Amendment attorney Dan Barr had called the bill an "unconstitutional solution to a nonexistent problem."
"You've had a whole slew of courts hold that people have a First Amendment right to take video of the police in public," he said. "If this bill ever became law, it would be struck down in a nanosecond."