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Following ‘Faked’ Footage Scandal, Baltimore Moves to Restrict Public Access to Body Cam Footage

Pinheiro’s physique digital camera footage. Picture Credit score: Twitter/ Justin Fenton

Two members of Baltimore’s County Council have introduced a new resolution to tighten public entry to physique digital camera footage. The measure, launched by Republican councilmen Todd Crandell and Wade Kach, comes after dozens of criminal cases have been dropped in Baltimore following the discharge of digital camera footage that seemingly uncovered officer misconduct.

This summer time, public defenders in 4 separate instances have accused officers of both planting proof or faking physique digital camera footage.

In July, Officer Richard Pinheiro was suspended pending an investigation after footage appeared to indicate him planting proof whereas he assumed his digital camera was off, then turning the digital camera on to “discover” proof that he himself had positioned. Two officers have been additionally suspended pending an investigation after a second video in August prompted accusations of misconduct. A third video got here weeks later, although the officers in that video weren’t suspended.

Though members of the council say they wish to restrict entry in an effort to defend victims’ and bystanders’ privateness—“with out trampling upon the overarching purpose of transparency in police/group relations”—ACLU Maryland legal professional David Rocah says the measure is “pointless and deeply misguided.” As he notes, Baltimore PD footage is already ruled by statewide laws, the Public Info Act.

“Physique digital camera video, similar to another document, could be redacted to handle privateness issues,” he instructed the Baltimore Sun. “It’s admittedly extra cumbersome and costlier to redact a video than a paper document, however it may be accomplished.”

Earlier than footage is launched to the general public, police departments typically blur faces, license plates, alter voices, and edit out self-identifying data. Software program can automate this course of, nevertheless it’s an costly different. The newly launched measure doesn’t have particular tips on redaction or how any new laws would work together with both the Public Info Act or any native PD’s insurance policies.

A vote on the measure is scheduled for October 16th.

[Baltimore Sun]



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