Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill Thursday that would forbid the release of videos and photos of mass killings by government agencies which until now was considered public records.
Supporters say the law is meant to protect family members of mass shooting victims from more trauma but it would also make it easier for the government to sweep those shootings under the carpet.
And it would allow law enforcement agencies to keep from releasing video that will make them look like cowards like the Broward sheriff’s deputy who ran and hid during the Parkland school shooting last year.
The deputy, Scot Peterson, ended up retiring with a $8,700 monthly pension.
And while many people were angered over his refusal to confront the killer, the Supreme Court ruled in 2005 that law enforcement agencies are under no Constitutional obligation to help people in danger.
It’s all a myth.
According to the South Florida Sun Sentinel:
Ryan Petty, whose 14-year-old daughter was killed in the Parkland shooting, said he watched the school’s surveillance footage as part of his research for a state commission investigating the massacre.
He said it informed his views on school security issues, but he doesn’t think a good reason exists for the public to be given access. The public would likely see the video without proper context, he said.
“It highlights the evil acts of an evil person,” Petty said. “It makes that evil the focus of the video. I don’t think there is a lot of benefit to the public seeing it.”
First Amendment groups initially voiced concerns that the measure could hurt efforts to hold law enforcement and the government accountable for lapses. A previous version of the bill was broader, exempting “all acts or events that cause or otherwise relate to the death of a person.”
The bill was revised to “specify that such photographs and video and audio recordings provide a view of the deceased in the final moments of life.”
The law will pertain to shootings where three or more people were killed. No word yet on whether it would apply to a cop who kills three citizens on duty.
The law only applies to videos recorded by government agencies like the school district video that recorded the Broward deputy hiding as well as police body and dash cameras.
It would not apply to videos recorded by private citizens but now we’re on that slippery slope.