It’s a sight that’s become all too familiar in recent weeks: a video showing the death of a law enforcement officer in the line of duty. Sometimes the recording comes from a nearby witness, but often it comes from the officer, through a body camera, or a dashboard camera, or through audio from a radio call.
A bill pending in the California Senate from Democratic Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley) would let the family of the fallen officer decide whether those recordings should be made public. Low's brother is a police officer. He says the bill isn’t intended to withhold information, but to protect families.
“I think it important to at least have a pause to ask the question: Is there a public interest in the release of the video?" he says.
The bill comes as law enforcement agencies face demands for greater transparency. Critics say it would undermine those efforts. Kevin Baker of the ACLU of California says this is an attempt by law enforcement to control the release of audio and video recordings.