Right to video record police up for debate

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)-- Your right to' video-record' the police is up for debate once again at the State Capitol.

It's been prompted by several high profile cases where citizens have recorded police activity, only to be arrested themselves.

The State Senate is moving forward with a bill that gives residents the option of bringing a civil lawsuit against police officers that interfere with citizens recording police activity.  
This now famous video taken by a priest who was arrested at an East Haven store, resulted in a federal investigation of the cops.
"Cameras are everywhere, electronic recording devices. I think this is a good thing for all concerned for both the police and the public," said Rev. James Manship, St. Rose of Lima Church, New Haven.
"There is no harm in that as long as the member of the public is not interfering with the officer," said Sen. Martin Looney,(D) Majority Leader.
The state's largest independent municipal police union is fighting against the bill. Sergeant Rich Holton is president of the Hartford Police Union.

"We have the fear that they're going to come right up in the area, so if you have a crime scene set up, they're going to go under the tape, we deal with that on a daily basis, people don't listen, they don't understand what the tape is for, we have to constantly tell them," said Holton.
Representative Joe Verrengia is a 23 year veteran of the West Hartford police department.
"A person may find themselves in a crime scene clashing with an officer who's telling them they're in a crime scene and that's where the problem's going to lie," said Verrengia.

"Now you're gonna have an individual and officers fighting with another individual instead of helping the officer secure that criminal, they're going to be videotaping it and standing by while the officer could be severely injured or possibly, you know killed," said Holton.
The proposal specifically says crime scenes are exempt from the law, the cops decide what's a crime scene.      
Opponents also say cities and towns will face enormous litigation costs in the legal fights that could develop.
This bill has passed the State Senate twice in the past two years but it never came up in the House. It is given better odds there this year.

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