It’s been a good week for justice in the state of Connecticut. The state Senate passed a bill that would guarantee the right to record police officers while on duty and, perhaps more importantly, provides penalties for officers that interfere with that right. There are exceptions, but they’re not as broad as the police wanted them to be, as several exceptions were rejected:
The first, offered by Sen. Kevin Witkos, a sergeant in the Canton Police Department, called for an additional liability exemption if a person intended to “inconvenience or alarm” an officer in the performance of duty.
Witkos said he supported the underlying principle of the bill but wanted to make sure there were safeguards against ill-intentioned videographers who seek to interfere with police.
“I do believe that the public has a right, if they’re not in the way of a police officer doing their job, of filming all they want,” he said.
But Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney, D-New Haven, said the Witkos amendment would create too large a loophole. “It really would render the bill without meaning,” he said.
Looney also noted that interfering with an officer is already a crime and would remain so.The other failed amendments would have exempted Capitol building police from liability and would have shifted the burden of proof onto the person bringing a lawsuit.
The bill passed by a huge margin, 42-11. It now moves to the House. Also, the governor of the state signed into law a bill outlawing the death penalty. All in all, that’s a pretty good week for the cause of justice.
I was almost going to write that it was a good week for justice but a bad week for the police. But that isn’t true. It’s a bad week for corrupt and abusive cops, but good cops should have nothing to fear from it. In fact, they should welcome video recording because it can protect them against false accusations as well.