Minnesota: Police Wear Body Cams, No One Can See Footage

From the one-way-surveillance-and-zero-accountability department:

More cities and states are getting behind the idea that outfitting their law enforcement officers with body cameras will result in better policing and more accountability. Unfortunately, many of them then follow this moment of clarity by gutting the “accountability” part of the programs.

Los Angeles law enforcement agencies will only turn over camera footage if it’s part of a criminal or civil suit. Florida legislators are pushing for additional exceptions in the state’s open records laws specifically for body camera footage and specifically at the request of the state’s police union.

Minnesota seems to be taking the same route. The state wants its law enforcement officers to wear cameras but some legislators don’t feel the public should have access to the footage. A bill supported by the state’s law enforcement aims to keep as many recordings out of the public’s hands as possible.

The bill states:

[A]udio and video data captured by a portable video recording system that is not part of an active or inactive criminal investigation must be destroyed within 90 days of the date the data were captured, unless the data subject, or any peace officer identifiable by the data, submits a written request to the law enforcement agency to retain the data for possible use in a future proceeding related to the circumstances under which the data were originally collected. Any law enforcement agency that receives a request to retain data shall retain it for a reasonable time, based upon the likelihood of its future use and the agency’s policies for retention. Peace officers who are identifiable by portable video recording system data shall have unrestricted access to the data while it is retained and must be permitted to make copies.

It seems reasonable… until you realize what it’s allowing law enforcement agencies to do. Anything retained by these agencies will only be accessible to civilians in the recording, and then only by request. Alleged misconduct that is cleared by law enforcement oversight will move affected recordings into the “destroy” pile, which means agencies can start deleting potentially damning footage almost immediately….

By Tim Cushing – Tech Dirt –

Melee halts St. Louis City Hall meeting on civilian oversight of police

Jeff Roorda, business manager of the St. Louis police union, got into a shouting match with meeting chairman Terry Kennedy on Wednesday and then touched off a melee by shoving a woman at City Hall. A packed house gathered to discuss a bill that would form a civilian-run police oversight board.

See video.

A St. Louis City Hall meeting exploring the creation of a civilian-run police oversight board was halted Wednesday night when a melee erupted, highlighting the still simmering tensions exposed when an unarmed black Ferguson, Mo., teen was shot dead by a white cop last August.

The crowd grew testy an hour into the public forum as police officers spoke in opposition to the bill and former state Rep. Jeff Roorda, who doubles as the business manager of the city’s police union, got into a shouting match with meeting chairman Alderman Terry Kennedy, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Witnesses say the a shoving match began after Roorda — who was reportedly wearing a wristband in support of Darren Wilson, the ex-cop who shot Michael Brown — pushed a black woman in the aisle of the packed hall.

“You white supremacist motherf—–. Get the f— out of here, man,” someone can be heard shouting at Roorda in a video that captures the meeting-stopping push.

Former state Rep. Jeff Roorda, who doubles as the business manager of the city’s police union, is seen pushing a woman in the middle of a St. Louis City Hall meeting.

“I was literally just trying to leave the meeting and I got caught in whatever Roorda and Kennedy had going on in their exchange,” Cachet Currie, the woman who was pushed, told KMOV.

“Roorda just jumped out into the aisle, pushed me over, and tried to get to Kennedy. I’m like ‘wait a minute, don’t push me.’ Then he started going off on me, pushing me.”

Currie suffered a scatch on her forehead she said came from Roorda….

No arrests were made.

BY Jason Molinet – NEW YORK DAILY NEWS –