Why is police body camera footage not normally released?

Huntsville
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- The Huntsville Police Department responded to a home on Deramus Avenue April 3 where Officer William Darby eventually shot and killed Jeffery Parker.

Darby and two other officers on the scene were wearing body cameras. WHNT News 19 has requested to see the footage but was denied.

The Huntsville Police Department has been wearing body cameras since 2016. Many departments throughout the state use this technology as well, but the footage is normally not released.

"They're always allowed to and it comes down to do they want to," said defense attorney Brian Clark.

Alabama police departments don't have many restrictions when it comes to releasing footage, but in ongoing investigations where a trial is possible, body cam footage is usually not released.

"If that's released before trial, then I don't know how you get a fair trial," Clark said. "At that point, not only are you going to see the video, you're going to see edited versions of it, it's going to be inflamed with comments and people can't help by having their opinions altered."

There are cases where police departments show their footage to the public.

"Where it's clear that there's an outcry in the public and they're saying that the officers are clearly wrong," Clark said. "Some of the proactive departments quickly got theirs out saying no the individual is not being honest."

Lawyers say even after an investigation is over, body camera footage is usually not released because of an invasion of privacy or graphic content.

Click here for more information on the case involving Officer Darby.

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