July 1: Police Transparency Law Requiring the Release of Body Camera Footage Goes into Effect

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On July 1, Assembly Bill 748 will go into effect where California Law Enforcement must release body camera footage within 45-days of a critical incident.

The bill was introduced by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) and signed by Governor Brown in 2018.

“Public access to body camera footage is necessary to boost confidence and rebuild trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve,” said Ting on Wednesday. “This law sets clear expectations for agencies – they can no longer withhold body camera video or audio from us.”

According to Ting, prior to the passage of AB 748, California had no consistent policy regarding the release of body camera recordings. In April of 2018, the Los Angeles Police Commission adopted a policy similar to the new state law. But other departments commonly cite “pending investigation” as a reason to deny requests for footage under the Public Records Act.

As a follow up to AB 748, Ting is working on legislation, AB 1215, this year that would prohibit law enforcement from using facial recognition software in body cameras. Such technology defeats the purpose of body cameras, which are typically adopted to bolster community relations and trust. The addition of facial recognition software would essentially amount to 24-hour surveillance without consent. In addition, face scanning technology routinely misidentifies people, particularly women, youth and people of color. AB 1215 is currently eligible for a Senate Floor vote that could send the proposed ban to the Governor by the September 13th bill deadline.


4 COMMENTS

  1. Still those crooked cops will find ways to cheat the system. I want to see a law that requires the officers bodycam to be recording 100% of the time he’s on shift without the option of turning the camera off when it’s convenient.

  2. Leave camera’s on 100 percent of the time? So while they are changing in uniform, using the restroom, and eating. Police Officer’s deserve privacy too, like you do at your job (if you have one). Ignorance at it’s finest.

  3. This will be interesting to see how law enforcement makes it as uncomfortable if not impossible to get this info.
    Transparency is not one of law enforcements best assets.

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