Today the Los Angeles Police Commission approved a new policy requiring the LAPD to release video footage of officer-involved shootings and other critical incidents within 45 days, unless there are extenuating circumstances that require delaying release. The change in policy comes in response to a report released by the Policing Project in September of last year, which showed broad public support for making video public in the interest of transparency and community trust.
Last spring, at the request of the Police Commission, the Policing Project conducted a citywide engagement process to gather public input on whether and when video should be released. The Policing Project received 3,200 questionnaires from individuals who live, work, or go to school in Los Angeles, as well as written comments from 27 local and national organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, National Action Network Los Angeles, and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
Said Policing Project Director Barry Friedman: “Cities throughout the country are struggling with when to release body camera video after an officer-involved shooting. Too often these decisions are made ad hoc, under pressure. We commend the Police Commission for developing a clear policy to guide these decisions, and doing so with substantial input from the broader L.A. community.”
The Policing Project is an organization at New York University School of Law that works to ensure that policing agencies are accountable to the public at the “front end”—which is to say before something goes wrong. The Policing Project has worked with policing agencies and communities across the country to facilitate public input on police policies and practices, including around the use of body-worn cameras and other police technologies.
In gathering input on the LAPD’s video release policy, the Policing Project worked with public officials and community organizations—as well as academic partners at UCLA and UCI law schools.
Read the Policing Project's full report on our website at www.policingproject.org/los-angeles.