New plan could supplement how much D.C. police body camera footage is released

WASHINGTON — A major pivot on police body camera videos would allow the public much greater access to interactions with law enforcement.

D.C.’s plan, still a work in progress, would draw a distinction between videos recorded in public places and those captured in homes or in private.

The Washington Post first reported the change.

“If the goal is to ultimately help foster better relations between the police and the community, then you have to be transparent and you have to make sure that the public can have access,” said Councilman Kenyan McDuffie, Ward 5, who had openly criticized earlier plans to restrict the release of footage.

Mayor Muriel Bowser had argued that idea was one of practicality: It would simply be too costly to pay people to redact so much personal information before it was released to the public.

The policy currently being shaped considers whether there is a need to redact footage in public spaces, where there isn’t an expectation of privacy.

As ever, the challenge is putting transparency and individual privacy on a teeter totter and getting them to balance.

“We’re going to do it in a way that can hopefully be duplicated across the country,” McDuffie said.

If the working idea becomes codified, D.C. would release more unredacted footage than any other big city in the country.

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