News Release

Nation’s Defense Bar Decries Louisiana Bill to Create a Crime of Approaching Within 25 Feet of an On-Duty Law Enforcement Officer

Washington, DC (May 4, 2023) – Approaching a police officer on duty who orders otherwise or simply being within 25 feet of them could become a misdemeanor in Louisiana, punishable by a $500 fine or a jail term of up to 60 days, under legislation moving through the Louisiana House.

NACDL Executive Director Lisa Monet Wayne stated:

“Three years ago, a 17-year-old Black woman named Darnella Frazier captured the Minneapolis police murder of George Floyd on her cell phone from a ‘few feet away’. Now, while the Department of Justice is probing Louisiana state police for an alleged pattern of excessive force and racially discriminatory policing, the Louisiana House is debating HB 85, a proposal to create a law that courts may eventually strike down as void for vagueness. This dangerous and vaguely worded bill would violate people’s First Amendment freedom of assembly rights and give Louisiana law enforcement officers a pretext for racially discriminatory and excessive force by criminalizing peaceful activity, such as breathing, eating lunch, parading, asking for directions, reporting a crime, or videotaping evidence of police abuse, within 25 feet of an on-duty law enforcement officer. Video shows that legislators debating the law could not even decide, by eyeballing in their own hearing room, what distance constitutes 25 feet. So, there’s no way for ordinary people to understand how to comply with this ridiculous law – punishable by a $500 fine or 60 days in jail. And since no Louisiana state law requires law enforcement officers to wear body cams, there’s no way to document when police, in a violent frame of mind, might use it as a pretext for excessive force on a racially discriminatory basis.”


Jonathan Hutson, NACDL Senior Director of Public Affairs and Communications, (202) 480-5343 or

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's many thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal legal system.

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