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Identity & Community

Open Records Survey Shows Police Videos Hard To Obtain

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Megan Harris
/
90.5 WESA

 

Video footage from police dashboard and body cameras remains very difficult to obtain in Pennsylvania, where the state Supreme Court is currently considering what the rules for disclosure should be.

In a new survey of public records access in the state, dash cam videos were by far the least likely to be produced upon request.

Surveyors asked for videos from 25 specific incidents and were granted access to just five. Four of those five were edited to remove key elements of what occurred, but one department in western Pennsylvania turned over an unredacted recording.

In 10 cases, departments said they didn't have any recordings, either because they'd been erased or the camera had been turned off.

Videos of police in action are often made public in other states. Recordings of police shootings that sometimes contradict official accounts have fueled a national discussion about police tactics and accountability.