Florida Times-Union by Dan Scanlan and Andrew Pantazi
September 1, 2020
Bodycam video of Jacksonville police shootings should be released faster via a new policy announced Tuesday by the State Attorney’s Office.
The new policy would see those videos released within a month of police shootings involving the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, instead of taking nearly a year or longer, as was seen in the high-profile Dec. 14 death of Jamee Johnson.
The changes announced by State Attorney Melissa Nelson come after months of repeated demands for faster release of bodycam video. Those demands came from recent protests at the Sheriff’s Office, Duval County Courthouse and elsewhere in the country, with the families of those shot speaking in support of better transparency.
Prosecutors will now tell the Sheriff’s Office within 30 days of a shooting if they object to the public release of bodycam footage. The Sheriff’s Office then would release the footage, Nelson said.
Although much of the reaction was positive, it is longer than activists had asked for. Activist groups met with Nelson, Sheriff Mike Williams and Mayor Lenny Curry earlier Tuesday to repeat their demand that agencies release footage within 48 hours, something already done at the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.