Proposed Legislation Would Block Release of Body Camera Footage Showing Victims of Rape, Domestic Violence

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A new bill in the California Legislature would prohibit the public release of police body camera footage depicting victims of rape, incest, child abuse or domestic violence.

Assembly Bill 459 from Assemblyman Ed Chau (D-Arcadia) says the privacy of victims outweighs any public interest in body camera footage and should be protected. Under his proposal, video could be released if the victim allows it.

Local police departments already block most body camera footage from public disclosure, including in the circumstances outlined in Chau’s bill, by arguing it is part of a criminal investigation and therefore exempt from release under existing laws.

Even as departments up and down the state have adopted body cameras, state lawmakers have struggled to pass legislation either to increase the transparency or to further restrict access to footage.

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