States, civil liberty advocates collide over police body camera policy

by Aamer Madhani  |  published on May 8, 2015

Lawmakers throughout the USA are grappling with just how much the public is entitled to see when a police body camera has recorded a volatile or even mundane incident on video.

Since the beginning of the year, lawmakers in at least 15 states and Washington, D.C., have introduced legislation that would limit release of footage from the body cameras through open record laws. The cameras are attached to an officer’s clothing, helmet or glasses and capture footage of arrests, traffic stops and other encounters.

New York, Los Angeles and Chicago are among the many large cities testing surveillance cameras with their police officers.

Law enforcement interest in body cameras has surged following the police shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., last August that touched off riots and national racial discord over what actually happened moments before Brown was taken down in a barrage of bullets.

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