Missouri to Ban Public Seeing Cop Body Cam Video?

UPI/Bill Greenblatt /LANDOV

It’s one step towards progress and several steps back as one Missouri lawmaker seeks to weaken a bill that would put cameras on cops.

In the wake of the controversy over the police shooting death of teen Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., one solution offered was to make the wearing of body cameras by police officers mandatory. In response, Missouri lawmakers proposed a bill that would require police departments to buy and wear the cameras, but Rep. Doug Libla (R) wants to make it so that if there are body cameras (or any way to record police) the footage won’t be available for public viewing.

From Talking Points Memo:

The bill, introduced by Sen. Doug Libla (R), would make all footage recorded by police officers, including dashboard and body cameras, exempt from the state’s open records law, and would prevent the state from requiring that police departments purchase and use body cameras. As the law currently stands, the public is able to request police videos through Missouri open record, or Sunshine, law.

Missouri’s Attorney General Chris Koster (D) also recently supported restricting public access to footage recorded on body cameras.

Supporters of Libla’s bill, including Sheldon Lineback, the executive director for Missouri Police Chiefs Association, cited privacy concerns. “Individuals may make mistakes and those mistakes never come off the Internet,” she argued.

Others, however, are less convinced.

The ACLU’s Sarah Rossi called it an “end run around Missouri’s Sunshine law,” which she claimed already enables law enforcement to withhold evidence from active police investigations.

Read more about the bill at Talking Points Memo HERE.