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California Legislature

California police body camera transparency bill is shelved for the year

LAPD Officer Jim Stover demonstrates how an officer turns on the new Taser body camera at a news conference in 2015. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
LAPD Officer Jim Stover demonstrates how an officer turns on the new Taser body camera at a news conference in 2015. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

A bill that would have opened public access to police body camera videos across California has been shelved.

The measure, Assembly Bill 748, would have made public footage from police shootings and other cases considered to be in the public interest, including video of police uses of force or violent political protests.

The bill, authored by Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), squeaked through the Senate Public Safety Committee in July, but no further hearings were held.

The measure's demise is another example of state lawmakers' inability to agree on how accessible to the public police body camera footage should be despite a dramatic increase in the use of the equipment among California police departments.

"The patchwork releases of body camera footage only sow further public distrust with law enforcement and the communities they serve," Ting said in a statement. "California needs a statewide standard for the disclosure of footage. In order to let the footage speak for itself, we need more time to find the breakthrough in this bill and I will continue to engage with stakeholders to find a transparent and equitable solution.”

Sept. 5, 1:52 p.m., This post was updated with a statement from Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco).

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