LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Los Angeles Police body cam footage involving officer-involved shootings, which is often released at the discretion of the department, might be made public automatically under new rules proposed by the L.A. police commission.
The new measures from the five-member oversight panel would make body cam, drone and dash cam video public within 45 days of an incident in which a person is shot or seriously injured by an LAPD officer, with few exceptions.
“That’s a good step, now they have to go a step further,” president of the L.A. Urban Policy Roundtable Earl Ofari Hutchinson told CBS2 News. He believes waiting weeks for important video evidence to be released might erode trust in police and give the impression the footage could be doctored.
“Other police departments, they actually do release body cam footage without conditions and time constraints,” Ofari Hutchinson said.
The move towards transparency did not sit well with the LAPD police union, which said 45 days might not be long enough.
“We would prefer that any video released be done after the conclusion of the investigation, including any review by the district attorney, and hope that any unintended negative consequences are limited,” the Los Angeles Police Protective League said in a statement.
This echoes LAPD Chief Charlie Beck’s assessment from several weeks ago, in which he said “the release of video too early is a mistake because it is done out of context.”
However, according to a statement from the LAPD Friday,”[t]he Department looks forward to continuing to work with the Commission, the Police Protective League and our community to implement a release policy that enables the community to understand the circumstances of critical incidents.”
The police commission could vote on the proposal next month, but it will give the public two weeks to give its input.