Ohio bill would restrict the release of police body camera video

Posted at 12:00 AM, Feb 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-08 04:56:01-05

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Body camera recordings offer a first-hand glimpse at the toughest moments police officers face and give the public a window into instances of possible misconduct, but Ohio Rep. Niraj Antani believes there should be clearer rules governing which recordings are accessible to the public.

"A police body camera will be able to see where you keep your gun, your jewelry, and where you kids sleep," Antani said in a statement announcing his sponsorship of House Bill 425, which would place limits on the release of body camera video. "It is essential for us to take steps to protect the privacy rights of our citizens as this new technology is deployed."

Under House Bill 425, videos containing dead bodies, nudity, sex crimes or other situations considered obscene would not be considered part of the public record.

WCPO would not share video like this in any case; as Norwood Lt. Ron Murphy said, "The only reason you would release those is to be sensational."

The bill also contains a provision to withhold videos that might compromise an ongoing investigation. However, other provisions are more restrictive: It would outlaw the release of video recorded inside homes and businesses.

"I don't subscribe to the belief that every piece of body cam is releasable," Murphy said.

Criminal defense attorney Richard Golberg said he agrees some records are not for public consumption, especially those concerning sex offenses and crimes against children.

"They shouldn't have their personal issues shown or open to the world," he said.

The bill, which was introduced in November 2017, has yet to receive a vote in the Ohio House of Representatives.