Senators on Wednesday voted 36-2 to keep some police body camera videos out of public light.
The bill (SB 248) by Sen. Chris Smith, D-Ft. Lauderdale, would shield any footage taken by officer-worn cameras inside a private residence, hospital, mental health care facility, social services agency or “a place that a reasonable person would expect to be private.”
The upshot: Privacy protection if police come into your home or hospital room wearing body cameras.
“If it’s in your home, your hospital room, your hotel room, a place where you deem to be private,” Smith said in debate Wednesday, “that video can only be released with your consent … you are the only one that can give permission for them too see it.”
But opponents worry exemptions could make public scrutiny of police work more difficult even as police departments turn to cameras to introduce more transparency and accountability to their work.
Only two senators voted against the bill: Sens. Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange, and Dwight Bullard, D-Cutler Bay.
There is no companion in the House, but the language could be tacked onto other body camera legislation moving there.
An earlier version of the bill also exempted any medical emergency video from public record disclosure but was changed after open-government advocates, including Barbara Petersen of the First Amendment Foundation, said it could make it harder for police brutality cases to be aired publicly.
Original article here.