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Releasing Police Shooting Footage Immediately

Sacramento, CA – Proponents for releasing police body camera footage after an officer involved in a “significant incident,” such as fatal shooting, reignited in California due to a new bill.

The Senate Public Safety Committee advanced Assembly Bill 748 on Tuesday. The bill, which would amend California’s public records statute to limit police departments’ discretion for withholding video, would require police departments to release video in cases where law enforcement officers use force or in incidents where there is a possible violation of law or public policy.

Advocates state that video recordings cannot help with public oversight if they are kept secret and call for handing out recordings immediately.  The American Civil Liberties Union states that the legislation is an important step forward in ensuring police transparency, especially after fatal police shootings.

More than a dozen law enforcement organizations are opposed, contending it should be up to local police departments to determine when footage should be released. Additionally, it could compromise ongoing criminal investigations and disciplinary proceedings.