A Florida bill plans to make it a crime for people to be within 30 feet of police officers, according to the Miami Herald.
On Tuesday (October 21), Miami-Dade County commissioners rejected a resolution endorsing the controversial legislation by Rep. Alex Rizo (R-Hialeah). Under the proposed bill, people could face a misdemeanor offense for staying within 30 feet of officers to provoke or harass them. The bill also requires a warning before someone could be charged.
“This isn’t good legislation,” Commissioner Keon Hardemon said as he sat in the second row of the chambers. Reporters say he used a tape measure, showing he was roughly 30 feet from where his fellow commissioners sat.
"This is about maintaining control, really, of communities," he continued. "If an officer is telling you from this distance: 'Back up, you’re too close,' then what’s too far?"
Francesca Menes, the chair of the Black Collective, an advocacy group in Miami, says the bill targets one's right to videotape incidents involving police.
"Who are the communities most likely to pull out their phones? The racial overtones are there,” Menes said in an interview. “It’s very clear who will be impacted by this.”
Rizo said he was willing to discuss boundaries between police and citizens. He also argues that police should be allowed under Florida law to tell someone to "step back" during a confrontation.
“Can’t we just tone the temperature a bit,” Rizo said in an interview. “Whatever you’re doing, do it at a distance. Whether it’s yelling or filming.”
The resolution failed to pass 5-7.