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Bill that would allow officers to make people stand 25 feet away passes Indiana House

Posted at 10:35 PM, Feb 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-15 18:07:43-05

INDIANAPOLIS — If a statehouse bill becomes law, people would be required to stand 25 feet away from a police officer if the office makes that request during an incident.

"I think that this does not help community and police relations," community advocate Wildstyle Pachall said.

He feels that House Bill 1186 will lead to officers not allowing citizens to film police interactions in public. It's something he says he experienced.

"That officer could have told me to get away from him and keep me even further back from being able to film what was going on during an encounter of three young Black men in my community," Pachall said.

A representative with the Indiana State Fraternal Order of Police says the bill promotes officer safety and public safety.

"A lot of times when an officer will pull someone over or detain someone ... if that person has been in some sort of altercation with another individual, the individual that was in the initial fight will come back and try to fight this individual while the officer is present and that just can't happen," Edward Merchant said.

Those types of situations are why state representative Wendy McNamara (R-Evansville) wrote the bill.

"Right now a law enforcement officer has to be touched in order to get somebody away from them and be able to deal with the situation and often times it escalates," McNamara told WRTV.

The bill is now headed to the Senate. If it passes, it will go to Gov. Eric Holcomb's desk.