Lawmakers push increase of police video public availability

Lawmakers push increase of police video public availability

(KFVS) - Some Illinois lawmakers are pushing for change in regards to how police dash-camera and body-camera footage is released to the public.

Under current state law, the law enforcement agency in legal possession of a video has the power to release it.

However, if there is sensitive information in the footage such as personal information pertinent to a subject's privacy, that agency also has the power to say "no" to someone who asks to see it.

"The public has the right to know some things, there is no doubt about that," said Ziegler Police Chief Ben Burkhamer on Monday. "But say you're talking about a sexual assault case…should that be a public record? That's sensitive information that could involve someone's privacy as far as their name, face, and where they live? So there's cases where no, it shouldn't be."

The controlling agency also currently has the right to withhold any information pertinent to an ongoing investigation, including footage pertinent to the integrity of a criminal investigation.

If the new bill passes, only a judge would have a say in whether body-cam and dash-cam footage is public record or not.

The bill follows the shooting death of LaQuan McDonald by a Chicago police officer.

Dash-cam footage of the incident was withheld from the public for more than a year.

Once the footage was released through a court order, the officer who opened fire was charged with first degree murder.

Download the KFVS News app: iPhone | Android

Copyright 2016 KFVS. All rights reserved.