NewsPublic Affairs / March 10, 2016

Body Cam Bill Heads To Pence Without Auto Release Provision

Legislation headed to the governor will give the public and the press more access to police body camera videos. - AP photo

Legislation headed to the governor will give the public and the press more access to police body camera videos.

AP photo

INDIANAPOLIS -- Legislation headed to the governor will give the public and the press more access to police body camera videos than they’ve ever had.  The final compromise drew unanimous support in both chambers.

There was one issue remaining in the body camera bill – a provision that said, if a video potentially depicts excessive use of force or civil rights violations by police, it must automatically be released.

Police didn’t like that, and so, despite the objections of press organizations, lawmakers took the provision out.  Still, Sen. Rod Bray, R-Martinsville, who helped craft the bill, says it has broad support.

“We’ve talked at length to members of the media and those who’ve been here in the legislative process watching it and we’ve talked extensively to law enforcement, as well,” Bray says. “Everybody seems comfortable with the language.”

Rep. Ed DeLaney, D-Indianapolis, says the bill was made much better during the process by requiring law enforcement to prove in court why a video shouldn’t be released, rather than forcing the public and press to prove why it should.  And he says lawmakers next session will have more work to do on police body cams.

“We’ve got to find a way to finance it so that many more agencies will adopt it,” DeLaney says.

The bill does allow police to charge up to $150 when providing copies of the videos to the public or the press.

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