Everyday Injustice Podcast Episode 197: Police Agencies Avoid Accountability with Shooting Footage

In 2018, California passed a law that mandated police departments to release body camera footage within 45 days of any incident when an officer fires a gun, or uses force that leads to great bodily injury or death.

However, a CalMatters investigative report found that agencies rarely release the raw footage to the public.

Instead, CalMatters reported “the public and the media must rely on edited presentations that often include a highlighted or circled object in a person’s hand, slowed-down video to show the moments when the person may have pointed the object at police and transcriptions of the body camera’s audio.”

“To only release an edited version is not what we think is called for from the defendant’s point of view,” said Stephen Munkelt, executive director of California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, a Sacramento-based association of criminal defense attorneys. “If they’re editing things out, it’s probably the stuff that’s beneficial to the defendant.”

CalMatters reported, “He also worries about the impact of the release of the body camera footage on a potential jury pool. Still, Munkelt said, some video is better than none, if only because defense attorneys have more grounds to ask a judge for the full, unedited video.”

This week on Everyday Injustice, Stephen Munkelt joins us and discusses police body worn camera footage and the state of the law.

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Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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