Law requires the release of body camera footage

SAN DIEGO (KGTV)- A bill signed by California Governor Jerry Brown aims to increase law enforcement transparency.

Assembly Bill 748 requires law enforcement agencies across the state to release recordings from body-worn cameras within 45 days of a critical incident unless it interferes with an investigation.

A critical incident is defined as the discharge of a firearm or use-of-force that causes death or great bodily harm.

“The Governor’s signature on AB 748 signifies a strong commitment to police transparency in California. Public access to body camera footage is necessary to boost confidence and rebuild trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve,” said Assemblyman Phil Ting.

According to the author of the bill, the new law does not supersede a department’s ability to set its own disclosure rules, so long as the rules comply with the general guidelines set forth in AB 748.

A spokesperson for the San Diego Police Department tells 10News the legislation is so new, the department is not sure how it will affect them but will adhere to all changes in the laws.

In a statement, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said:

“AB748 relating to the disclosure of audio and video recordings is largely consistent with the County Chief's and Sheriff's recently signed MOU setting forth a Protocol for Investigation & Review of Peace Officer Involved Shootings and Other Use of Force Where Death Occurs.  While minor changes may have to be made to ensure that the MOU complies with AB748, we are confident that the Chief's and Sheriff's desire to provide consistency in inter-agency investigations and independent review of all peace officer-involved shooting incidents that result in injury or death and other uses of force by peace officers which result in great bodily injury, can still be accomplished while complying with the spirit of transparency set forth in AB748."

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