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14. Police video (e.g, body camera footage, dashcam videos)


  • California

    Recordings of critical incidents, defined as including incidents involving the discharge of a firearm at a person by a peace officer or custodial officer and incidents in which the use of force by a peace officer or custodial officer against a person results in death or great bodily injury, are public, subject to certain limitations and exceptions.  Cal. Gov’t Code § 6254(f)(4).

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  • Florida

    Body camera footage is confidential and exempt if the recording is taken inside a private residence, a medical or health care facility, or any place in which a person would have an expectation of privacy. Fla. Stat. § 119.071(2)(l). Accordingly, body camera footage taken on a public street generally should be disclosed. However, the statute also provides that other exemptions may apply to limit disclosure. Most frequently, law enforcement agencies will withhold body camera footage or portions thereof based on the active criminal investigative exemption in Fla. Stat. § 119.071(2)(c).

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  • Georgia

    With certain exceptions, Georgia law requires video recordings from law enforcement body-worn devices and devices inside of law enforcement vehicles to be retained for a minimum of 180 days. O.C.G.A. § 50-18-96. Unless part of an initial arrest or incident report, the recordings may be exempt from disclosure under the Act’s pending investigation or prosecution exception or if made in a place where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy. § 50-18-72(a) (4), (26.2).

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  • Illinois

    The subject of the body camera footage may obtain the recording through FOIA regardless whether it has been flagged under 50 ILCS 406/10-1. Public Access Opinion 19-001 (available at []).

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  • Iowa

    Video recordings may not be subject to disclosure under Iowa Code § 22.7(5).  Disclosure will depend on whether the recording record is considered a report and investigatory. Neer v. State, 2011 Iowa App. LEXIS 154 (Iowa Ct. App. Feb. 23, 2011).  Though police investigatory reports do not lose their confidential status when the investigation ends, Iowa Code § 22.7(5) allows for “an exemption from confidentiality for basic facts about the incident” if the litigant can show that the public good of disclosure outweighs the associated public harm. Mitchell v. City of Cedar Rapids, 926 N.W.2d 222, 232 (Iowa 2019).

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  • Michigan

    The Body-Worn Camera Privacy Act of 2017 (“BWCPA”) became effective on January 8, 2018.  Section 3(2) of that act, codified at MCL 780.313, provides that, “Except as otherwise provided in section 4 and subject to section 5, a recording recorded by a law enforcement officer with a body-worn camera that is recorded in a private place is exempt from disclosure under the freedom of information act.” Section 3(1) incorporates certain privacy protections of the William Van Regenmorter Crime Victim's Rights Act, MCL 780.758 et seq.

    Subject to those and other applicable FOIA privacy protections, section 4 of the BWCPA, MCL  780.314, permits the following persons to “request a copy of an audio and video recording recorded by a law enforcement officer with a body-worn camera in a private place:

    (a) An individual who is the subject of the audio and video recording.

    (b) An individual whose property has been seized or damaged in relation to a crime to which the audio and video recording is related.

    (c) A parent of an individual who is less than 18 years of age described in subdivision (a) or (b).

    (d) A legal guardian of an individual described in subdivision (a) or (b).

    (e) An attorney who represents an individual described in subdivision (a) or (b).

    Section 5 of the BWCPA, MCL 780.315, provides that body camera footage retained in connection with an ongoing law enforcement investigation is not a public record and is exempt from FOIA, but only to the extent that disclosure would cause one of several listed harms. The same provision clarifies that, as with other public records, body camera footage cannot be obtained through FOIA when the requestor is in active civil litigation with the agency.

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  • New Mexico

    These are public except for the portions of law enforcement records subject to the exemption set forth in NMSA 1978 §14-2-1(D).

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  • Vermont

    A public record includes “any written or recorded information, regardless of physical form or characteristics, which is produced or acquired in the course of public agency business.” 1 V.S.A. § 317(b).  Thus, police videos would constitute public records under the Public Records Act.  Indeed, the Vermont Supreme Court recently analyzed a public records request to inspect body camera footage from the Burlington Police Department, see Doyle v. City of Burlington Police Dep't, 2019 VT 66, ¶ 2, and the Burlington Police Department’s Department Directive on Body Worn Camera Systems contemplates that requests for copies of videos will be made pursuant to the Public Records Act.  See files/Police/files/

    DD14.1%20-%20Body%20Worn%20Camera%20Systems.pdf for more information.

    Any requests for police video, are, however, subject to the list of exemptions contained in 1 V.S.A. § 317(c), including: 1 V.S.A. § 317(c)(5) (records dealing with the detection and investigation of crime) and 1 V.S.A. § 317(c)(14) (records relevant to an ongoing litigation in which the public agency is a party of record).

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  • Washington

    Police body worn camera recordings are subject to disclosure except to the extent necessary to protect a person’s “right to privacy,” under a modified version of the privacy test discussed above. Certain types of recordings are presumed to be “highly offensive,” including depictions showing the inside of medical facilities and residences, intimate images, minors and the body of a deceased person. RCW 42.56.240(14).  Public records requests for bodycam footage must also specify a particular individual involved in an incident, a specific officer, or the incident’s time and location. Id.

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  • Wisconsin

    Police videos are available for inspection, subject to the balancing test. A Legislative Council Study Committee recommended legislation on body cameras, but it has not passed the legislature.

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