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Ohio Legislators Weigh Making Phone Video of Police a Crime

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The proposed bill, part of a package of measures aimed at protecting police, was passed by the House Criminal justice committee, despite the more than 100 civil rights, first amendment groups and individuals who testified against the measure, warning it will “criminalize the right to protest.”

In Columbus, OH., members of the House Criminal Justice Committee voted to approve a proposed state law that could make it illegal to shoot cell phone video of police this Thursday, says News 5 Cleveland. House Bill 22 would expand the states obstruction of justice laws by including failure to follow a lawful order from police or diverting a law enforcement officer’s attention. The approval comes despite the more than 100 civil rights, first amendment groups and individuals testifying against this measure. The bill’s sponsors say this will protect the police and public from harm when police attempt to clear crime scenes and make arrests or maintain order.

Opponents argue this law is so broad that it could block bystanders from taking videos of police activity during protests or demonstrations. Ohio Legislative Black Caucus (OLBC) President State Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton) said, “Instead of seeking to heal the rift between our communities and our law enforcement, HB 22 further sows the seeds of fear by attempting to criminalize the right to protest….It will only create more tension and potential for conflict,” in a statement Thursday. This measure still requires passage by the House and Senate as well as be signed by the governor before becoming a law.

Source: The Crime Report https://thecrimereport.org/2021/06/25/ohio-legislators-weigh-making-phone-video-of-police-a-crime/

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