Bad police body camera bills moving in state legislatures

The front page of the April 1-10 El Reportero bilingual libertarian-oriented newspaper distributed free in the Mission has a story (presumably reprinted) by Ryan Foley on anti-transparency trend regarding how footage from cameras worn by police officers is handled. Some excerpts:

"IOWA CITY, Iowa -- State legislators are pushing to make it much harder to release police officer body camera videos, undermining their promise as a tool people can use to hold law enforcement accountable.

Lawmakers in at least 15 states have introduced bills to exempt video recordings of police encounters with citizens from state public records laws, or to limit what can be made public.

Their stated motive: preserving the privacy of people being videotaped, and saving considerable time and money that would need to be spent on public information requests as the technology quickly becomes more widely used.

Advocates for open government and civil rights are alarmed...

The Kansas Senate voted 40-0 last month to exempt the recordings from the state's open records act. Police would only have to release them to people who are the subject of the recordings and their representatives, and could charge them a viewing fee. Kansas police also would be able to release videos at their own discretion...

Existing state disclosure laws typically provide exemptions for ongoing criminal and personnel investigations. Open government advocates say the privacy challenges of body camera videos can be addressed within those laws..."

  You can read the whole much longer story online here --

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