Montgomery Co. Council approves bill for random review of police bodycam video

Montgomery County, Maryland, council members have unanimously adopted legislation seeking to improve police accountability by providing for random reviews of body-worn camera footage.

The bill amends the Montgomery County Police Department’s existing internal affairs procedures to mandate that certain investigations, including recordings and files, be reported to the chief of police, county executive, county council and the state’s attorney.

The legislation also establishes a log making note of each time a body-worn camera recording is accessed or redacted.

Council President Tom Hucker introduced the bill after a January 2020 incident in which two Montgomery County officers berated and handcuffed a 5-year-old boy who had walked off the grounds of a Silver Spring elementary school and refused to return.



Bodycam video of the encounter released this March prompted outcry from community members, fueling calls for an overhaul of the county’s public safety system and disciplinary process.

“The horrific incident was not reported quickly to the chief of police, and once it was, the incident was neither reported to the county executive, the county council or the state’s attorney, and was only made public a year later after a local reporter broke the story,” Hucker said in a news release following Tuesday’s vote approving the bill.

“This bill will rebuild trust in our police by ensuring that the public learns about investigations of abuse, use of force and other serious incidents involving police in a timely fashion.”

 

Alejandro Alvarez

Alejandro Alvarez joined WTOP as a digital reporter and editor in June 2018. He is a writer and photojournalist focusing on politics, political activism and national affairs, with recent multimedia contributions to Reuters, MSNBC and PBS.

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