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Friday, September 25, 2015

Ind. Gov't. - "States Grapple With Public Disclosure of Police Body-Camera Footage" [Updated]

From Stateline, this report Sept. 22 by Sarah Breitenbach that surveys the approaches being taken by various states - a quote:

As police departments across the country equip their officers with body cameras, many are struggling to strike a balance between the public’s right to know and privacy protections. This year 10 states—Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina and Texas—have passed laws concerning public access to the footage, according to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, a nonprofit group that assists journalists.

The South Carolina law exempts footage recorded by the cameras from public disclosure under the state’s Freedom of Information Act. A Georgia law that took effect in July limits who can request the videos and pending legislation would deem the videos “records of law enforcement” and not subject to disclosure under that state’s public records law.

In South Carolina, the goal was to protect the privacy of people recorded by police, according to Democratic state Sen. Gerald Malloy, who sponsored the legislation. Malloy noted that the measure allows people with a direct interest in a body-camera video, including the state attorney general, law enforcement agencies and subjects of recordings, to watch it.

In addition, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press has launched an interactive online map of police body camera laws and policies.

Late last month "Indiana awmakers heard testimony regarding whether the public should have access to police body camera video," per this long Indianapolis Star story by Jill Disis.

Niki Kelly of the Fort Wayne Journasl Gazette had this Aug. 26th story.

Here is the agenda of the Aug. 26th meeting of the Interim Study Committee on Government.

The documents made available from that meeting include this Surveillance Recording Retention Policy, which is identified as "County/Local Government Retention Policy, Adopted by the Oversight Committee on Public Records, May 20, 2015."

Another valuable document from that meeting was this 6-page list of "public record exemptions." As noted in the introduction to the list:

The primary list of these exemptions is in IC 5-14-3-4. However, there are many exemptions throughout the Indiana Code, both mandatory and discretionary, that deal with specific types of records and information.
ILB Comment. It has appeared to the ILB that every session of the General Assembly enacts additional exemptions to the public records law.

The video of the Aug. 26th meeting has been archived and may be accessed here.

[Updated at 11:11 AM] The Interim Study Committee on Government will meet again on Tuesday, Sept. 29th, continuing discussion on "Public records requests for police body camera video." Here is the agenda.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 25, 2015 10:17 AM
Posted to Indiana Government