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DC Police to be Obligated to Give Body-Cam Footage to Families of Victims Killed by Officers

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Families and relatives of individuals who die as a result of police involvement would be entitled to view footage from body-worn cameras, as per an emergency bill that passed the D.C. Council earlier this week.

The bill was approved unanimously by the members of the D.C. Council. Currently, those captured in the video or their legal guardians/legal representatives are the only ones permitted to see such videos, according to the District’s law.

The parents or family members of an adult who was killed during interaction with police cannot see the video showing the incident.

Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White, the author of the bill, is arguing that the new legislation would help the body cameras program be more transparent.

“In the instance of police-involved shootings, the lack of access by close relatives such as the parents of the subject do not meet the transparency goals that the body-worn cameras program was designed to afford,” White said during the legislative session on Tuesday.

“There have been instances where the parent of the deceased person has not been able to access the body-worn camera footage, which has added emotional distress that follows the death of a child.”

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser will review the bill and decide to sign it or veto it within 10 days.

The body-worn cameras program has been constantly criticized by rights groups such as the ACLU of D.C. and Black Lives Matter, saying that police officers did not often face consequences for not turning on the cameras.

 

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