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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Ind. Gov't. - "House OKs rules on police video access" [Updated]

Updating this ILB post from yesterday, Niki Kelly of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reports today:

The Indiana House voted 65-30 Tuesday to set up rules for accessing police video recordings that give wide discretion to police on when – if ever – to release them.

Rep. Kevin Mahan, R-Hartford City, said the bill is a balancing act between public information and transparency while recognizing the privacy rights of Hoosier citizens and police that might be in the recordings.

He said he doesn’t want access to the recordings to be a deterrent to law enforcement agencies thinking of adding body cameras. The bill also covers dash cameras.

“I could be the victim of a crime or the victim of police misconduct and I feel comfortable with the bill,” Mahan said.

But it has been criticized by the Hoosier State Press Association and the Indiana Broadcasters Association as giving law enforcement the power to release only the recordings that are positive.

It also places the burden to get the recording on someone asking for it unlike Indiana’s other public records laws, which places the burden on government denying the request.

House Bill 1019 sets up two processes to get access.

Members of the public and the media would have to file a lawsuit and try to prove the public interest would be served with the release of a video. Even if the person or group wins, a judge is prohibited from giving them attorney’s fees.

Secondly, people who are in the videos – or relatives and attorneys of someone now deceased in a video – can view the video twice but not get a copy. If law enforcement doesn’t comply, the person would have to go to court and might be able to receive attorney’s fees.

[Updated Jan. 28] Maureen Hayden, CNHI state Reporter, has a long story today in the Terre Haute Tribune Star, headed "Police want tight limits in bill on body-camera footage."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 27, 2016 01:46 PM
Posted to Indiana Government