Police often use broad exemption to keep videos from public
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — An investigation by The Associated Press has found that police departments routinely withhold video taken by body-worn and dashboard-mounted cameras of officer-involved shootings and other uses of force.
To test the public’s ability to access police video under state open records laws for Sunshine Week, the AP made requests for roughly 20 recent incidents in a dozen states.
The requests were met with denial after denial and failed, so far, to unearth video of a single incident that had not already been made public.
In rejecting or delaying the requests, most law enforcement agencies and prosecutors cited broad exemptions that allow them to keep records of pending investigations secret.
Government watchdog groups say the exemption can be misapplied to hide embarrassing footage from the public.
Moving for Sunshine Week, held annually to highlight journalism’s role in fighting for government transparency.