By American-Statesman Editorial Board
Originally published Jan. 10, 2019
Police video has the power to give an unbiased, unflinching view of what really happened — but it works only when the public is allowed to see it.
We’ve seen the benefits of police camera footage clearing up the circumstances of officer-involved shootings and allowing for scrutiny of high-profile arrests. Think of what dashboard camera footage meant for our understanding of the 2015 forceful arrest of elementary schoolteacher Breaion King and the 2016 fatal shooting of 17-year-old David Joseph.
But in other cases, a pernicious loophole in state law has allowed police agencies to refuse to release videos when a suspect dies in their custody — defying the very spirit of transparency and accountability such cameras were supposed to bring.