Body cam bill causes controversy

(WISH photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Who should be allowed to see video from a police body camera, and when?

They are questions currently being tackled by state lawmakers and, so far, Indiana broadcasters don’t like the answers.

It’s a budding controversy at the Statehouse.

A bill passed by a House Committee last week says that for the media or the public to see body cam video they may have to acquire a court order.

The bill places a burden of those seeking the video to prove that its release is in the public interest. If police deny a request it would be up to a judge to determine if the video can be seen by the public.

The Indiana Broadcasting Association says the bill goes against the spirit of the Indiana open records law.

“And we want police to have these body cams let alone dash cams,” said Dave Crooks, president of the IBA, “but we don’t think that a police chief or a sheriff should be able to make a decision to just keep these videos under wrap and never share them with the public.”

“The goal is to have more officers adopt the body camera,” said Rep. Ed DeLaney, a co-author of the bill, “and to make it easier to get to it in important events or incidents like we’ve been seeing on TV lately, so I think we’re all working in that direction so I’m hopeful it’ll get there.”

Rep. DeLaney says he is working on a compromise that weighs the interests of both the media and the police.

The bill is eligible for action on the House floor but no vote is scheduled while those talks continue.

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