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Thread: The fight over cop body cam footage has begun. Columbia Journalism Review

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    The fight over cop body cam footage has begun. Columbia Journalism Review

    Here in Florida, with one of the strongest public-records laws in the country, that frontier may soon be shaped by a couple of factors. One is a lawsuit filed by a Sarasota attorney against the local police department over fees for release of video footage. The second is a bill in the state legislature that would create new exemptions in the public records law when it comes to body cameras. The details of the suit and the bill are unique to the Sunshine State. But in the wake of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and the Justice Department’s scathing report on biased policing in Ferguson, MO, as hopes for greater police accountability and improved community relations are pinned in part on wider use of the cameras, both warrant close attention.

    http://www.cjr.org/united_states_pro...dy_cameras.php

    The cost of the video became an issue after police officials required an $18,000 payment for 84 hours of video taken when police tested the new body cameras last year. The request, and the subsequent lawsuit, came from Michael Barfield, vice president of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, who is known for challenging local officials on public records law.

    http://www.heraldtribune.com/article...body-cam-video

    CS/SB 248: Public Records/Audio or Video Recording Made by a Law Enforcement Officer

    http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2015/0248
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    Regular Member Maverick9's Avatar
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    They should pay the money then when the footage is edited, or shows unlawful acts, sue for recovery. I-A-N-A-L.

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    The cops' qualified immunity would have to be pierced.
    I am responsible for my writing, not your understanding of it.

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    Regular Member Maverick9's Avatar
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    You'd sue the city for unlawful actions (if so, otherwise why ask for the video), or the Department, I suppose and recover. That will be come standard. Not like a legal team can't front $18k knowing they'll get it back. Soon jurisdictions will abandon this, because it makes the lawyers more vindictive (if that's possible).

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    The simple and wrong solution is to just post all body cam videos to a publicly accessible server so they can be downloaded for free.

    The reason this is wrong is because of the amount of footage involving private citizens that the media and public has no right to access.

    In the county next door to my own many of the EMTs are also sworn deputies. My private medical emergency--including images of my person or interior of my home during said emergency--should not be publicly accessible as a matter of course.

    Ditto for my routine traffic stop. Nor my interactions with the police as a witness or complainant against gang members or other violent criminals.

    Not to mention the footage of the cop using the public restroom while on shift.

    Even if 95% of the imagery and sound doesn't violate anyone's right to privacy, determining which 5% needs to be edited out is going to be expensive. An expense I don't think the taxpayers need to bear every time a media outlet gets an inch to go on a fishing expedition or university decides to do a research project of some kind.

    A more practical solution is to come up with proper laws, policies, and procedures to assure cameras are in use (ie not having to be turned off and on during the day to protect privacy) when needed, and that relevant footage is securely stored and can be retrieved by those who have a legitimate need such as making a case of police misconduct.

    Charles
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    Here we go with it is going to be expensive EXCUSE...

    I highly doubt that those who have complaints are going to be crying about privacy. Just another excuse to keep the people from demanding accountability.
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    Quote Originally Posted by WalkingWolf View Post
    I highly doubt that those who have complaints are going to be crying about privacy. Just another excuse to keep the people from demanding accountability.
    Those with actual complaints must be given access to all available evidence.

    Those without complaints must not have their privacy compromised. And anyone who attempts to ignore or dismiss these concerns including through sound bite drive by postings isn't being honest.

    I highly doubt you want full video and audio from your next, routine traffic stopt, including video and/or audio of your identifying information, to be available on a public webserver or handed over as part of some mass request by the media for all body cam footage for some two week time period.

    There is a material difference between paper reports of police actions that might include personal information that can be readily redacted before public release, vs audio/video footage that has to be watched and edited before being turned over to the public.

    In my mind, anyone involved in an interaction with the police ought to be able to get copies of that interaction, plus some reasonable amount of time before and after, free of charge. That is part of the taxpayers should fund as part of having a police force.

    I don't believe the taxpayers should be on the hook for the costs of protecting citizen privacy while providing hundreds of hours of footage to every media fishing expedition or university research effort. The costs charged in these cases should reflect true and reasonable costs to have entry level department employees watching and editing the footage. But if you speed up footage more than about 2x it is very difficult to discern what is being said. So if someone's research project or news effort requires 200 hours of footage, they ought to expect to be paying something like $10 or $15 an hour for about 100 man hours to have the footage screened and edited. That is not an excessive cost, but not one I the taxpayer should foot just because someone has an itch to scratch.

    Of course, those whose reading attention span doesn't yet cover more than three lines at a time, will feel compelled to offer up some asinine comment that borders on misquoting what I've written.

    Charles
    All experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. Thank heaven we do not permit a few to impose anarchy.

    "With Anarchy as an aim and as a means, Communism becomes possible."
    --Marxist.org

    "Communism and Anarchy [are], a necessary complement to one another. "
    --PETER KROPOTKIN, "Anarchism: its philosophy and ideal." 1898.

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    Too many technical, constitutional, and practical deficiencies for this bill to survive the committee process.

    It's going nowhere.

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    Regular Member WalkingWolf's Avatar
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    The tax payer reaps the benefits of reduced settlements from claims of abuse. No matter why it reduces those claims, it has been proven it does.
    It is well that war is so terrible – otherwise we would grow too fond of it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by utbagpiper View Post
    Those with actual complaints must be given access to all available evidence.

    Those without complaints must not have their privacy compromised. And anyone who attempts to ignore or dismiss these concerns including through sound bite drive by postings isn't being honest.

    I highly doubt you want full video and audio from your next, routine traffic stopt, including video and/or audio of your identifying information, to be available on a public webserver or handed over as part of some mass request by the media for all body cam footage for some two week time period.

    There is a material difference between paper reports of police actions that might include personal information that can be readily redacted before public release, vs audio/video footage that has to be watched and edited before being turned over to the public.

    In my mind, anyone involved in an interaction with the police ought to be able to get copies of that interaction, plus some reasonable amount of time before and after, free of charge. That is part of the taxpayers should fund as part of having a police force.

    I don't believe the taxpayers should be on the hook for the costs of protecting citizen privacy while providing hundreds of hours of footage to every media fishing expedition or university research effort. The costs charged in these cases should reflect true and reasonable costs to have entry level department employees watching and editing the footage. But if you speed up footage more than about 2x it is very difficult to discern what is being said. So if someone's research project or news effort requires 200 hours of footage, they ought to expect to be paying something like $10 or $15 an hour for about 100 man hours to have the footage screened and edited. That is not an excessive cost, but not one I the taxpayer should foot just because someone has an itch to scratch.

    Of course, those whose reading attention span doesn't yet cover more than three lines at a time, will feel compelled to offer up some asinine comment that borders on misquoting what I've written.

    Charles
    There is a material difference between paper reports of police actions that might include personal information that can be readily redacted before public release, vs audio/video footage that has to be watched and edited before being turned over to the public.
    Audio/video documentation of an event/encounter...or.... the musings of a paper report relying on grey matter memory written after the fact ?????? A wise person would choose the audio/video evidence in seeking justice instead of trying to refute the officers trained professional
    memory (credibility) .

    The use of digital audio/video technology injects objectivity into the judicial process instead of relying on the incomplete and often flawed subjective memory of a LEO's emotional accounting of the event.

    Digital audio/video technology should be used as a counterweight to balance the scale held by Lady Justice

    Truth, honesty and justice compliment each other in a free society....... I think the cost to our republic is a moot point..

    FREEDOM ISN'T FREE!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by WalkingWolf View Post
    The tax payer reaps the benefits of reduced settlements from claims of abuse. No matter why it reduces those claims, it has been proven it does.
    That seems to be true simply by having body cams. Making the footage freely available to those without a direct interest in it doesn't make a difference. If there is evidence that making the video freely available to all comers (as opposed to only to those with a legitimate interest in it) offers additional benefits, I'd love to see the citations.

    So we can have the benefits without incurring huge costs to protect the privacy of private citizens who happened to have an interaction with the police during some time period that a journalist or academic wants to go through police videos.
    All experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. Thank heaven we do not permit a few to impose anarchy.

    "With Anarchy as an aim and as a means, Communism becomes possible."
    --Marxist.org

    "Communism and Anarchy [are], a necessary complement to one another. "
    --PETER KROPOTKIN, "Anarchism: its philosophy and ideal." 1898.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2OLD2W8 View Post
    Audio/video documentation of an event/encounter...or.... the musings of a paper report relying on grey matter memory written after the fact ?????? A wise person would choose the audio/video evidence in seeking justice instead of trying to refute the officers trained professional memory (credibility) .
    [/QUOTE]

    I agree fully and always have. Please re-read my post if you are confused as to what I wrote and what my area of concern is.

    Hint, it has to do with the privacy of private citizens who have an interaction with the police.
    All experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. Thank heaven we do not permit a few to impose anarchy.

    "With Anarchy as an aim and as a means, Communism becomes possible."
    --Marxist.org

    "Communism and Anarchy [are], a necessary complement to one another. "
    --PETER KROPOTKIN, "Anarchism: its philosophy and ideal." 1898.

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    I agree fully and always have. Please re-read my post if you are confused as to what I wrote and what my area of concern is.

    Hint, it has to do with the privacy of private citizens who have an interaction with the police.[/QUOTE]

    Those are the people who want body cams! The whole idea is too have transparency with those interactions. The statists do not want the police to be held accountable so they bring up such BS.

    NOBODY has suggested there be live broadcasts of cams, it is purely to hold down police complaints and transparency. Well I have only seen one person suggest such ignorance.

    When there is a credible request by the people involved, or the media, the footage should be handed over immediately with NO editing. As it is now those who have interactions on dash cams takes weeks, and sometimes months to get footage. And in many of those cases it exonerated the accused. That is what this is about!
    Last edited by WalkingWolf; 03-12-2015 at 03:26 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by WalkingWolf View Post
    Those are the people who want body cams! The whole idea is too have transparency with those interactions. The statists do not want the police to be held accountable so they bring up such BS.
    Then do feel free to start using your real name rather than a pseudonym on this board. Even better, go ahead and post a nice clear image of you driver license showing all your personal information for all of us to look over.

    Until you do, claims that the rest of us want audio/video recordings of our routine interactions with police or EMTs to be available to the general public are so much hot air and rank hypocrisy.

    I have a right to the footage of interactions involving me. Generally speaking, you do not have a right to footage involving me. And neither does the media, university researches, nor identify thieves.

    Charles
    All experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. Thank heaven we do not permit a few to impose anarchy.

    "With Anarchy as an aim and as a means, Communism becomes possible."
    --Marxist.org

    "Communism and Anarchy [are], a necessary complement to one another. "
    --PETER KROPOTKIN, "Anarchism: its philosophy and ideal." 1898.

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    You do realize that police, and government have been using cams, video tape recordings, FOR DECADES, with no concerns over privacy? It is only now that cams are being a way for transparancy that we hear the claim of privacy. Mostly from statists and unions. Where is the ACLU on this, funny I have not heard them yelling privacy.

    NO! This is nothing more than statists looking for excuses to not have police transparency.

    From the ACLU https://www.aclu.org/blog/criminal-l...-security/poli

    The recommendation that we settled upon was a mandate that officers record “every interaction with the public.” Importantly, that was paired with and premised upon a regime that we recommended in which the vast majority of video footage would be locked away, never to see the light of day, with the only exceptions being where there was an allegation of wrongdoing against an officer, or the video was evidence of a crime.

    Issue solved! Except for the statists who will cry about government being held accountable.
    Last edited by WalkingWolf; 03-12-2015 at 04:07 PM.
    It is well that war is so terrible – otherwise we would grow too fond of it.
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    Regular Member Maverick9's Avatar
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    If I can speak for the majority of LAC, we want ONE THING.

    We want LEOs to be/act/perform PROFESSIONALLY, uphold their oath of office, and not ramp up, incite, provoke or make up their own laws.

    We want them to follow a reasonable code of ethics, not lie except during special circumstances, not plant evidence, not have false agendas, not have quotas, and use the lowest level of physical force as possible. We want them not to take steroids, or PEDs just to tougher on the job. We want them to go home at night just like we want to.

    If they'd just do this, I'm good. Body cams, if it helps them 'be a better angel' then fine. Independent agency oversight like NTSB if it helps, fine.

    Look at the show 'Alaska State Troopers'. This is how LE should act. Yes, they're on camera, but they do their job, often under very difficult circumstances and are polite and kind and still get the job done. Very professional.

    FWIW

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    I believe the concerns over privacy come from legislation under consideration that would make body cam footage as readily available to the public as written records. Some folks need to read the OP before responding.

    I note that despite some person's childish insults and preconceived notions about others' motives, even the ACLU has spoken pretty directly about where they come down on this.

    "the vast majority of video footage would be locked away, never to see the light of day,"

    "the only exceptions being where there was an allegation of wrongdoing against an officer, or the video was evidence of a crime."

    It seems to me some people are prone to creating supposed conflict where there is none.

    In my opinion:

    Cops should record all of their work day. Ideally, they should not even be able to turn cameras off. Cameras turn on when they start their shift and run continuously. Cameras are turned in at the end of shift and video footage is downloaded to secure storage. And then, "the vast majority of video footage would be locked away, never to see the light of day," with "the only exceptions being where there was an allegation of wrongdoing against an officer, or the video was evidence of a crime." I will add also where the footage has exculpatory value for any defendant.

    The media, university researchers, and random citizens don't get access to video footage except in cases where there are allegations of wrongdoing by a cop, or where the video shows evidence of a crime or has exculpatory or other evidentiary value in a trial.

    I suspect only statists and the tinfoil hat paranoids who insist the footage be available on equal basis as any paper report would object.

    It seems I and the ACLU are agreed. Snowballs in hell and all that.

    Charles
    Last edited by utbagpiper; 03-13-2015 at 12:05 AM.
    All experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. Thank heaven we do not permit a few to impose anarchy.

    "With Anarchy as an aim and as a means, Communism becomes possible."
    --Marxist.org

    "Communism and Anarchy [are], a necessary complement to one another. "
    --PETER KROPOTKIN, "Anarchism: its philosophy and ideal." 1898.

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    keep in mind that no where in the US Constitution do we/citizens have a "right to privacy"... While it may be an inalienable right, like the right to travel, there is no mention of said right in the Constitution.

    Living in the 21st century, with modern technology and the traps that the Government lays out, via.

    1- Social security numbers
    2- drivers license numbers
    3- health care information
    4- Gps devices in our phones and cars.
    5- EZ passes...

    The world is a small place... If you enter into a contract with any of the agency's that apply in numbers 1-5 then your privacy is lost... If you have automobile insurance and have a license plate on your property/automobile then you have no expectation of privacy...

    If you call for EMS or police or fire department to your humble abode, then you have no expectation of privacy, even in your own home....

    In the event of a criminal litigation or civil litigation said video recording's and cams can and will be used either for you or against you... That is called " Discovery"...

    I personally agree that all government agency's should be held accountable to tax payers...
    When I contact any agency of the government, I record all conversations. When I interact with any government agents on the streets, I record the conversation and video record... They are doing the same thing. Hence no privacy for anyone... If they want to know you, they will know you, if you care to know them, then you will know them...

    There are no Jeramina Johnson left in this world....

    My .02

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    Quote Originally Posted by countryclubjoe View Post
    keep in mind that no where in the US Constitution do we/citizens have a "right to privacy"... While it may be an inalienable right, like the right to travel, there is no mention of said right in the Constitution.
    This may be true. I suspect in any other context, most here would demand a right to privacy against government intrusion.

    I'm talking about government becoming an enabler of the media, some academic, a stalker, a marketer, or any random joe violating my privacy.

    When I call the EMTs, the media doesn't get to tag along with them into my home.

    Generally speaking, the media doesn't get to film my driver license and plaster it across TV screen just because I get popped for speeding.

    Yes, if I'm in public, the media and anyone else can film me. No expectation of privacy. But they don't have authority to demand my driver license and then film that. They don't get to film and broadcast my personal information that shows up on a cop's in car terminal. And at least in the States of which I'm aware, the media and private citizens cannot routinely use a license plate number to look up my name and address.

    Much as it may pain me to say, I have to agree with the ACLU and WalkingWolf on this one: All police activities during their work should be filmed by body cameras and then the vast majority of that footage should be securely stored, never to see the light of day again UNLESS there are allegations of police misconduct or the footage contains evidence material to a trial.

    This means that body camera footage is subject to a different set of public record laws than are appropriate for most other government records that must be freely available to the general public, free for the asking.


    Quote Originally Posted by countryclubjoe View Post
    There are no Jeramina Johnson left in this world....
    And yet, you use a pseudonym here and don't voluntarily post images of your DL, insurance documents, etc.

    Theory is one thing. In practice, most of us take what measures we can to preserve some privacy and security.

    Charles
    All experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. Thank heaven we do not permit a few to impose anarchy.

    "With Anarchy as an aim and as a means, Communism becomes possible."
    --Marxist.org

    "Communism and Anarchy [are], a necessary complement to one another. "
    --PETER KROPOTKIN, "Anarchism: its philosophy and ideal." 1898.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maverick9 View Post
    If I can speak for the majority of LAC, we want ONE THING.

    We want LEOs to be/act/perform PROFESSIONALLY, uphold their oath of office, and not ramp up, incite, provoke or make up their own laws.

    We want them to follow a reasonable code of ethics, not lie except during special circumstances, not plant evidence, not have false agendas, not have quotas, and use the lowest level of physical force as possible. We want them not to take steroids, or PEDs just to tougher on the job. We want them to go home at night just like we want to.

    If they'd just do this, I'm good. Body cams, if it helps them 'be a better angel' then fine. Independent agency oversight like NTSB if it helps, fine.

    Look at the show 'Alaska State Troopers'. This is how LE should act. Yes, they're on camera, but they do their job, often under very difficult circumstances and are polite and kind and still get the job done. Very professional.

    FWIW
    Might that have something with post-production editing? No that cannot possibly be it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by countryclubjoe View Post
    If you call for EMS or police or fire department to your humble abode, then you have no expectation of privacy, even in your own home....

    Regards
    CCJ
    Medical calls would be covered under HIPPA.

    I'm all for transparency, however, I agree with Charles. I DO NOT think unedited interactions should be public record to anyone 'just because they want it'. If it is requested by a 3rd party, faces should be blurred and identifying information should be removed (bleeped). That is going to cost money and that bill, at a reasonable rate, should be passed along to the person making the request. If the request is directly related to an actual complaint and limited to the scope of that complaint the video should be provided for free or next to no charge.

    If any Joe walking off the street can grab whatever video they want for whatever reason they want, it would be no time before criminals jump on the opportunity to get and use/sell countless identities. I think video and other records should be available if you NEED it but should not be just because you WANT it. At least not without some limitations, edits, or even HEAVY punishment for misuse. It is already too easy to have your personal identification stolen, we do not need other avenues opened to make it easier.

    My post has nothing to do with protecting the police but everything to do with protecting myself and other citizens. Anyone that would claim that limiting how much personal information is readily available to whoever wants it is either working toward an outlet to simply pry into business they have no business to pry into, or so blinded by their hatred of police that they cannot see the forest for the trees. Police should be and must be held accountable but not at the expense of the innocent citizen's they make routine contact with.
    my .02
    Last edited by willy1094; 03-15-2015 at 08:08 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by willy1094 View Post
    Medical calls would be covered under HIPPA [ ... ]
    Not on merely your bald assertion. Cite chapter and verse.

    The current EMS crew leader, singular, in my community, is also the junior cop, and I have no doubt that he would take advantage of plain sight. I will not allow him in my curtilage and would trespass him but for the hassle.
    I am responsible for my writing, not your understanding of it.

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    CFR › Title 45 › Subtitle A › Subchapter C › Part 164 › Subpart E › Section 164.502
    quoted in relevant part:
    § 164.502 Uses and disclosures of protected health information: General rules.
    (a) Standard. A covered entity or business associate may not use or disclose protected health information

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    Regular Member Maverick9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by willy1094 View Post
    Medical calls would be covered under HIPPA.
    Just a segue to give you a hard time, but there is no such thing as HIPPA. That might be a greek word, but it is not a current Acronym. FYI.

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    Regular Member hadji's Avatar
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    For those wishing to do more research regarding the "privacy rule"
    of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act,
    it is located at 45 CFR Part 160 and Subparts A and E of Part 164.

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