Police body cam footage bill passes



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Officer Chad Warner wears a shoulder mounted camera on Mar. 4, 2015 in field test. Storme Dayhuff Buy Photos

A bill that concerns the release of police officer body camera footage passed through an Indiana Senate committee today, after being heavily amended.

House Bill 1019, authored by Rep. Kevin Mahan, R-District 31, passed the Senate Judiciary Committee 7-1 Wednesday morning.

An earlier version of the bill was criticized for giving too much power to law enforcement to publicly withhold footage from body-worn or dashboard cameras.

Supporters of the bill argued for the privacy of the person who may be shown in the footage, saying that public access would compromise this.

The bill, which has been waiting to be considered by the Senate since January, was scheduled to be heard last week and then postponed.

During Wednesday’s session, Sen. Rodric Bray, R- District 37, added two key amendments to the bill.

One requires police officers to justify why the video should be kept private. This is opposite from the original bill, which required the public to justify why footage should be shown in court.

The exceptions to this would be if the footage has potential to create prejudice or bias in a court hearing or if the footage could jeopardize an ongoing investigation.

Rep. Mahan released a statement to further clarify this aspect of the bill.

“I am pleased to see House Bill 1019 advance out of committee and to the full Senate. Despite some misperceptions, this bill would allow those depicted in the video or their family to view footage recorded by body cameras and other recording devices,” Mahan said in a press release.

Bray also added the amendment allowing access to footage that depicts any evidence of excessive use of force or civil rights violation.

However, the release of this footage does not qualify as an admission of 
wrongdoing.

“Through the efforts of numerous stakeholders, I am confident that this legislation adequately addresses transparency for the public while protecting the privacy rights of those involved in law enforcement recordings,” Mahan said in the release.

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