Challenges mount for police buffer-zone restrictions

First Amendment lawyer Clay Calvert in The Hill, July 27, 2023, notes that many states are adopting buffer-zone laws to restrict how close a citizen can be to police while recording their actions. Calvert argues that the laws are unnecessary in that many states already have laws making it a crime to interfere or obstruct officers performing their duties.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards vetoed a law in June that made it illegal to stand closer than 25 feet of an officer who orders you to stand back. Edwards’ veto letter said, “The effect of this bill were it to become law would be to chill exercise of First Amendment rights and prevent bystanders from observing and recording police action. Each of us has a constitutional right to freely observe public servants as they function in public and within the course and scope of their official duties.” (Fox 8, June 28, 2023, by David Jones)