HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania House of Representatives today passed legislation to govern police use of cameras, including body-worn cameras, and to severely limit the public’s access to the video they produce. The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania has been among the opponents of the legislation. The following can be attributed to Reggie Shuford, executive director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania:
“If this bill becomes law, as it appears it will, the ability of the public to access police video will be nearly impossible. The promise of police body-worn cameras was to provide additional documentation for greater accountability and transparency in police practices. Instead, these cameras will become a tool for more surveillance and for manipulation.”
The following can be attributed to Elizabeth Randol, legislative director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania:
“Sadly, this bill has faced very little resistance on its journey through the legislature. The message from lawmakers is clear: Let the police hide what they do. No one should be surprised when we no longer see police video or when law enforcement selectively chooses which video to release and not to release.”
Although the bill, Senate Bill 560, originated in the Senate, it was amended by the House, so it must return to the Senate for another vote before it reaches Governor Wolf’s desk.