ACLU-TN Opposes Bill Restricting Access to Body Camera Footage

Affiliate: ACLU of Tennessee
March 25, 2016 3:30 pm

ACLU Affiliate
ACLU of Tennessee
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NASHVILLE – A bill has passed out of a House subcommittee this week that would indefinitely close public access to body camera footage related to excessive use of force or misconduct by police.

HB 876, as amended, would make such video confidential until the conclusion of any investigation and resulting disciplinary, administrative or judicial actions, which could take months or even years.

The House State Government Committee will take the measure up on Tuesday, March 29.

The following can be attributed to Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the ACLU of Tennessee:

“The ACLU of Tennessee opposes this misguided legislation. In instances where excessive force or misconduct is alleged, allowing public access to footage quickly is particularly important to restore community trust and protect public safety. Waiting to release footage until after investigations are completed could take months or even years. In city after city we have seen instances where delaying access to such footage does more harm than good. Body cameras can be a powerful tool to ensure not only police accountability and transparency, but also to protect officers—but not if access to such footage is broadly and indefinitely restricted, as it would be under this bill.”

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