INDIANAPOLIS -- A House bill governing how police body camera videos are released to the public is not likely to pass the Senate without significant changes.
The legislation says if members of the public or the press want access to a police body camera video, they have to prove to a judge that releasing the video is in the public interest, and won’t create potential harm or jeopardize a court case.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Brent Steele, when discussing the bill, read aloud an existing part of state law that deals with public records. He notes it expressly says it’s the public policy of Indiana that providing people with information on government affairs is an essential function of government.
“This chapter shall be liberally construed to implement this policy and place the burden of proof for the non-disclosure of a public record on the public agency,” Steele said.
Steele says he wants law enforcement to prove why a video shouldn’t be released and not force the public to prove why it should. Indiana Association of Chiefs of Police vice president Jason Dombkowski says his organization has no problem with Steele’s proposal.
“The burden of proof is always on law enforcement in most matters that we do, so that’s a role we’re used to,” Dombkowski said.
Steele says he doesn’t see the bill advancing without his change. He appointed a subcommittee to work on several issues in the measure and report back within the next two weeks.