“What this bill does is hand all the records to law enforcement as far as the release of cruiser or body camera footage,” Stephen Key of the Hoosier State Press Association told the Marion Chronicle-Tribune. "It creates a category that says they can use the footage at their own discretion and keep it confidential without pretext to protect an ongoing investigation."
"The democratic process needs to take place here and the bills needs to be given a fair hearing," Rep. Kevin Mahan (R-Marion), a former Blackford county sheriff who is sponsoring the legislation told the Chronicle-Tribune said. "The public needs to know things that are going on, but there’s an aspect of timing involved in every situation. I know the media gets upset and they want everything right now, but anytime we are dealing with legislation we are doing everything we can to benefit the public." Excuse me, but there's nothing beneficial to the public in this piece of crap legislation you are offering Rep. Mahan.
Rep. Mahan is joined in sponsoring this this Nazi state-styled legislation by State Rep. Ed DeLaney (D-Indianapolis), State Rep. John Price (R-Martinsville), State Rep. Sharon Negelle (R-Merrillville).
Hat tip to Indiana Law Blog.
UPDATE: The House Committee on Government & Regulatory Reform unanimously passed the bill out of committee without any changes. The Hoosier State Press Association's Steve Key discussed the difficulty the legislation poses for those citizens who are shown in police video footage:
. . . Key, of the press association, said even the provisions in the proposed Indiana bill that allow for release are concerning. While the person shown in the footage can view the video, the bill does not also require the department to give them a copy. That decision is up to the department.
That language, Key said, could create the following scenario: Should the person or relative contend that the video depicts an officer behaving badly, they would not have a copy of the video to publicly support their claim.
If the person shown in the video is denied a copy, they could take the agency to court. Unlike the general public, the person also would be entitled to recoup attorneys' fees if they successfully argue for the copy . . .Incredibly, State Rep. Wendy McNamara (R-Evansville) provided the excuse of protecting the privacy of persons shown in video footage as a reason for passing this worst in the nation bill.
"Which becomes more important?" she asked. "The privacy aspect of the individuals involved in the situation, or the public's need to, you know, hang a rope around peoples' necks at the jump of a video?"
McNamara continued: "If we had a sense that the media was going to be impartial — was not going to sensationalize it — then I wouldn't have a problem. But that's not the era we're living in right now."How the hell do these people get elected to the legislature? Are our voters that stupid? A lot of these lawmakers like to go out and party and drink a lot. I think they're more afraid about being caught on video by a dash cam or body cam during a traffic stop making a fool of themselves for all of us to see. If they get special treatment and word leaks of it, that video is the best weapon the public had to hold the person getting special treatment held accountable.