Right to Record Act Awaiting Signature from Gov. Jerry Brown

A piece of legislation that would clarify recording protections for civilians and police is awaiting a signature from Gov. Jerry Brown after receiving approval from the State Legislature last week.

The Right to Record Act, authored by Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, reinforces an individual’s right to record police officers by clarifying that a civilian recording while an officer is in a public place, or the person is in a place he or she has the right to be, is not violating the law, according to a press release by Lara’s office.

In addition, recording does not constitute reasonable suspicion to detain a person or probable cause to arrest, the bill states. Police are also protected by ensuring that these provisions do not allow a civilian to obstruct an officer.

“We are one signature away from making it absolutely clear—you have the right to record,” Lara said. “This is about reinforcing our First Amendment right and ensuring transparency, accountability and justice. Cell phone and video footage is helping steer important national civil rights conversations and the Right to Record Act is critical to protecting this fundamental right.”

The bill passed the state Assembly on Thursday, July 9, by a bipartisan vote of 74-2. It previously passed in the state Senate on Monday, April 13 by a vote of 31-3.

The Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) declined to comment on the bill. LBPD currently does not have a policy on recording officers.

A YouTube video that surfaced in April showed a U.S. Marshals Service officer break a South Gate woman’s cell phone while she was filming an operation.


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