City council member Bruce Harrell—chair of the council’s public safety committee and the city’s lead proponent of equipping cops with wearable cameras—has asked City Attorney Pete Holmes to review how the state’s arcane public disclosure laws could effect the city’s ability to release videos captured by police body cams.
One of the biggest issues with the body cameras, which came up at a committee hearing in Olympia last week, lies in the state’s complex disclosure laws, which could prevent police from releasing videos recorded by cop cams until after the statute of limitations on criminal and civil cases related to the recorded videos have passed. That could make it nearly impossible to obtain the videos for use in a civil misconduct lawsuit against the police department.
Harrell sent a letter to Holmes today asking whether an of the state’s disclosure laws would prevent the city from releasing videos “in a timely manner.”
Holmes’ office is in midst of several lawsuits regarding public disclosure, and recently sued an attorney in an apparent attempt to get a judge to rule on regulations regarding the release of videos recorded by police.