SDPD won't release body cam video from protests

Posted at 7:33 PM, Jun 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-01 22:33:22-04

There are two sides to every story.

San Diego Police say officers showed great restraint and professionalism when dealing with protesters who refused to leave the Gaslamp Quarter after Donald Trump's campaign rally at the convention center.

Some community members say police were heavy-handed and went too far in dealing with the crowd.

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The confrontations were recorded by TV cameras and people with cell phones, but the best video may be what was shot by the body cameras worn by officers on the front line of the confrontation.

San Diego Police rejected Team 10's public records request to view the body cam video.

It was the fastest rejection of a California Public Records Request we've ever seen. Usually, agencies take up to 10 days to cite the legal reasons why they're rejecting a request. We got our answer the very next business day, first thing in the morning.

The request was made just weeks after SDPD, the San Diego County Sheriff and the San Diego County District Attorney began holding "town hall" meetings to discuss the release of body cam footage taken during officer involved shootings.

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Those videos are released by the District Attorney after they've been reviewed.

The new transparency, however does not extend to police body cam videos that don't involve an officer pulling the trigger of his or her gun.

Team 10 argued the body cam video might support the officers' actions, but it didn't matter.

SDPD spokesman, Lieutenant Scott Wahl issued this statement in response to our request:

"As we have all seen, last Friday’s visit by Mr. Trump was captured on camera by members of the media as well as members of the public who were able to record video via their cell phones.  The restraint displayed by all the police officers and deputies assigned to this event was evident.  While body worn camera videos might further support their restraint and professionalism, the decision to release video footage is not based on whether or not it portrays our personnel in a positive light.  We consider all the videos as part of evidence.  Further, Government Code 6254(f) protects “records of complaints to, or investigations conducted by, or records of intelligence information or security procedures” from public disclosure."