INDIANAPOLIS, Ind – Indiana House Bill 1019, which would conceal access to police video – at the discretion of the police department – has made it closer to becoming law. HB 1019, introduced by Rep. Kevin Mahan (R-Hartford City) easily passed through Indiana’s House of Representatives with a vote of 65-30.
Mahan, who previously served as Blackford County Sheriff, said “This bill gives guidance to police departments that would like to add body cameras, while giving thoughtful consideration to privacy rights and investigations.”
The bill comes with controversy as it “restricts public records requests for law enforcement recordings” and requires a court order to release recorded police body camera video. Had this bill been law in Illinois, the video showing police shooting Laquan McDonald 16 times would not have been made public.
Chuck Williams, vice president and general manager for Radio One Indianapolis, said “I too feel a need for the police to have protections. Unfortunately, this takes away their ability to act in public transparency and actually increases every official’s risk. The issues now facing the Mayor and Police department in Chicago were from a decision to hide from transparency, This bill would insist officials hide all public camera interactions, placing every Police and City Official, including Mayor Hogsett, into the same position Chicago now finds themselves in, when recordings eventually are exposed, as they will be…eventually. When deciding between transparency and non-transparency, a Democratic Society, governed by the People, for the People, would and should always choose transparency.”
Williams’ position is in line with the Indiana Broadcasters Association which calls the bill “outrageous”.
Mahan says “As a former sheriff, I have learned a lot about body cameras and their impact on local communities, and I feel that this bill provides appropriate guidelines to law enforcement agencies who incorporate this technology,” Mahan said. “With this complex issue, it is important to balance transparency for the public while maintaining individual privacy rights.”
The bill now moves to the Indiana Senate for a vote before being sent to the Governor’s desk.