Huntsville City Council changes policy on police body cam footage

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The Huntsville City Council passed a resolution Thursday evening to publish the department’s policy on releasing police video footage, including from body cams worn by officers.

The document provides the public its first opportunity to view, in a codified document, the Huntsville Police Department’s policy on managing police video release. The same information was formally contained in internal department policy documents. Hamilton said the purpose of the new document is to provide further transparency about the circumstances for which police video is protected and accessible.

There have been recent calls for the department to release more body camera footage to the media.

Hamilton says department policies may evolve in the future, particularly based on what occurs at the federal and state level. But for now, Hamilton says concerns about privacy, and police video being taken out of context through later editing, as some of the reasons why it’s rarely released to the general public.

“I think as we go forward, and we go through that conversation, it’s really about how do we take some really complex circumstances, ones that are often video from multiple angles, and the aggregate of that is way longer than you could ever present in one of your news shows,” said Huntsville City Administrator John Hamilton.

You can find the Department’s police video policy document on the Huntsville Police Department’s website here.

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