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News From

State Senator

Martin M. Looney

Majority Leader

Representing New Haven, Hamden & North Haven

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Contact: Adam Joseph
860-240-8641

April 19, 2012

Looney Hails Senate Passage of Bill that Protects a Citizen’s Right to Record Police Officers

photo of Senator Looney speaking at news conference

Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney speaks at a news conference hours before state Senate Democrats voted on two bills protecting citizen’s rights to record police officers and improving racial profiling protections. Left to right: Senator Eric Coleman, Senator Looney and Representative Gary Holder-Whinfield. (April 19, 2012)

Senate Majority Leader Martin M. Looney (D—New Haven) hailed today’s passage of Senate Bill 245, An Act Concerning The Recording of Police Activity by the Public.

The bill would allow a person to bring a cause of action against a peace officer who interferes with the person taking a photographic or video image provided that the individual was not otherwise interfering with the officer in the performance of duty.

“Here in Connecticut, we have seen first hand the need for this protection,” said Senator Looney. “Connecticut citizens have been harassed, threatened and arrested for exercising their right to record police officers in their official duties. This bill will serve as a deterrent for public safety officers from infringing on citizens’ rights.

The law provides that the peace officer will not be liable if the officer had reasonable grounds to believe that his/her actions were taken in order to:

  • lawfully enforce a criminal law or ordinance,
  • protect the public safety,
  • preserve the integrity of a crime scene or criminal investigation,
  • safeguard the privacy interests of any person, including a victim of a crime, or
  • lawfully enforce court rules and policies of the Judicial Branch.

Earlier today, Senator Looney was joined by Father James Manship, pastor of Saint Rose de Lima Church in New Haven.

In February 2009 Father Manship was falsely arrested by East Haven police officers while videotaping officers harassing Latino business owners. In January the FBI arrested four East Haven police officers on charges including multiple counts of excessive force, false arrest, obstruction and conspiracy as part of an investigation into alleged profiling and mistreatment of Latino residents.

“Any officers performing their duties in accordance with their training and the law should welcome the recording of their activities by the public,” said Father Manship. “Transparency enforces trust. I support this bill.”

 

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