Bill would black out police bodycam videos in TN - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Bill would black out police bodycam videos in TN

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Knox County Sheriff's Office Deputy Donald Ferrell demonstrates his body camera attached to glasses during training for various departments Jan. 6, 2015, on the use and policy of officers wearing body cameras while on duty. (MICHAEL PATRICK/NEWS SENTINEL) Knox County Sheriff's Office Deputy Donald Ferrell demonstrates his body camera attached to glasses during training for various departments Jan. 6, 2015, on the use and policy of officers wearing body cameras while on duty. (MICHAEL PATRICK/NEWS SENTINEL)
NASHVILLE (News Sentinel) -

Legislation produced and given quick initial approval by a state House panel last week would prohibit public disclosure of most body camera recordings made by Tennessee law enforcement officers for at least a year — and potentially keep video of police misconduct under wraps for even longer. 

The move has drawn protests from open government advocates and the American Civil Liberties Union. The bill's sponsor, House Republican Caucus Chairman Glen Casada of Franklin, said he is not happy with the measure himself and will go "back to the drawing board" to negotiate over revisions in coming days.

As approved by the House State Government Subcommittee, the measure, HB876, would declare a general one-year "moratorium" on public disclosure of any police body camera footage, starting on July 1.

The measure allows public release of recordings that involve an officer's violation of a law enforcement agency's administrative policy or "alleged use of unlawful or unnecessary force in violation of state law or the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States" — but only after completion of "any investigation" into the individual case as well as completion of any trial or disciplinary proceeding involving the recording — which would take months at minimum and more likely years.

Read more from our news partners at the Knoxville News Sentinel.

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