Huntsville City Councilmen plan to present body camera release resolution at city council meeting

Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 11:01 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Your tax dollars pay for the body cameras police officers wear. But rarely, especially in the state of Alabama, do we get to see that footage.

Two reasons we’ve been given as media to not release the footage is that it’s under investigation, or that there’s pending litigation. But now, three Huntsville city councilmen are trying to speed up that process.

Huntsville City Council Member Bill Kling says the council has been listening to the public.

Kling says he and two other councilmen have been working diligently on this body cam resolution and are excited to present it to the rest of the council and the public.

City Councilman John Meredith says steps are being taken to get body camera footage released to the public.

“There are three sides to truth. That body cam is as close to the middle as we are ever going to get.”

At Thursday night’s city council meeting, John Meredith, Devyn Keith, and Bill Kling are expected to propose a resolution for body camera footage. The resolution would allow footage to be released once court cases and appeals have been completed, and with the consent of affected family members.

Councilman Kling says it’s a conservative resolution, but it is putting words into action.

“This is something we can do that will show the public that we have been listening to them over the last several months.”

State laws vary widely on when and how the public may have access to bodycam footage. In Alabama, any related materials apart of an investigation are not public record. However, materials can be disclosed by court order.

“This is not where something happens and the body cam footage is released the next day.”

Councilman Kling says this is to make sure trials are fair.

“You can’t get a fair trial because so much evidence is already out there. There is even liability for that municipality.

He says, for now, this is a step in the right direction.

Kling says he looks forward to hearing what the public has to say after the presentation and they can make adjustments from there.

We will have more for you tomorrow night on whether this resolution is passed.

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