From Senator Craig Estes, Texas State Senate District 30:
State Senator Craig
Estes (R-Wichita Falls) announced today his filing of Senate Bill 897, also
known as the "Freedom to Film Act," which will secure every citizen's
right to film and document the police without being harassed.
In recent years, as more
and more people have started carrying smartphones, there has been a disturbing
trend nationwide of citizens being harassed by law enforcement for filming,
photographing, and recording law enforcement officers. Unfortunately,
multiple incidents have occurred in Texas where citizens were told to stop
filming the police, even though filming the police is perfectly legal.
SB 897 seeks to clarify
that a citizen is perfectly within their legal right to film police officers
during the course of their normal duties. Specifically, if a citizen is charged
with interference with public duties, failure to obey the police, or assaulting
an officer and is subsequently acquitted, the citizen may recover the costs of
defending the frivolous charges.
"My hope is that
this bill will cause our police departments to think twice before arresting and
charging a person who is doing nothing more than filming the police,"
Estes said. "The police are public servants, so they should not be doing
anything that they would not want caught on film."
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