Senate to hear bill to let police withhold body camera video

(WISH Photo/Ron Nakasone)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH/AP) — An Indiana Senate panel will hear arguments on a bill to give law enforcement agencies the authority to withhold body camera video from the public.

Members of the judiciary committee will start the debate of the bill at 9:30 Wednesday morning.

The measure being heard Wednesday passed the House last month in a 65-30 vote.

As it’s written the bill gives law enforcement agencies the authority to withhold body camera video from the public.

If the media or anyone wants to see the video the bill would require them to obtain a court order.

The bill says the court would release the video if the court feels the footage would not cause harm and is in the public interest.

Supporters of the proposal say it would protect the privacy of people who are featured in body camera video.

But media groups and public access advocates argue withholding the video would be detrimental to open-government laws and transparency within law enforcement agencies.

Officials from the Indiana Broadcasters Association said this bill goes against the spirit of the Indiana open records law.

Lawmakers say they are working for the interests of both the media and the police.

This year more IMPD officers have body cameras when the city councils latest budget paid for some but not for all officers.

Supporters say they give independent evidence of any police interaction with the public.

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