[UPDATE Sunday] When Should Video Footage from Police Cameras Be Made Available? SoHum Is Asked to Weigh in at Meeting
UPDATE: KMUD will be live streamingOn Tuesday, November 7, District Attorney Maggie Fleming will be at the Healy Center in Redway to discuss the policy around the release of law enforcement video footage including that collected from body cams during officer-involved shootings. The meeting, which is from 6-7:30 p.m. will ask for public input on when and how video evidence should be released to the public.
Fleming said in an interview with the Times Standard that currently the policy is to release the video footage in an officer-involved shooting as soon as possible. However, she told the reporter,
…[T]here were considerations that needed to be made, including whether it affected the integrity of an investigation, public safety or privacy of people in the video.
She added it can take months for a video to be released.
“This is a very significant process, and it can take months,” she said. “And our review can take months.”
The meeting at the Healy Center is to collect public input on what policies should be put in place to decide when a particular video from the various local law enforcement agencies in an officer-involved shooting is released. However, at the current time, not all law enforcement in Humboldt County has the means to collect body and dash cam footage. According to Lt. Ken Swithenbank, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s office does not. However, many local city police organizations–Rio Dell, Fortuna, and Eureka–collect either or both body and dash cam videos.
Swithenbank said that the storage for the thousands of hours of video footage that likely would be collected by the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department is “super expensive” and would require hiring someone full-time to manage it and the public requests to view it. He said, “Prices have to come down” before the Sheriff’s Department can afford to install body and dash cams for their deputies.
UPDATE: KMUD will be live streaming