Los Angeles

What should happen if a police officer’s body-worn camera records an officer-involved shooting or other serious use of force incident? Should the video be made public? And if so, when?

The Los Angeles Police Commission invited members of the public to provide input on these important questions by taking an online questionnaire, attending a community forum, or submitting written comments.  The Commission undertook this process with help from the Policing Project at New York University School of Law, UCLA School of Law, and UC Irvine School of Law.

Between March 23 and May 7, 2017, individuals and organizations were invited to go to www.LAPDVideo.org where they could view a variety of educational materials, and either take an online questionnaire or submit more detailed written comments. The Policing Project and its partners also held five community forums, and conducted focus groups with members of the LAPD.

The Policing Project received 3,200 questionnaires from individuals who live, work, or go to school in Los Angeles. It received comments from 27 local and national organizations—including the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California (ACLU SoCal), National Action Network Los Angeles, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and the Reporters’ Committee for Freedom of the Press—which together represent thousands of people. ACLU SoCal also submitted a petition with 1,773 signatures.

The Policing Project prepared a report for the Commission summarizing public and officer feedback on the LAPD’s policy for releasing video footage of critical incidents—which includes any incident in which an officer fires a gun or an individual dies in police custody.

In deciding whether and when to release video after an officer-involved shooting, there are many factors to consider.  To learn more, watch the video above, or read a brief fact sheet about some of the tradeoffs involved.