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Alabama GOP Strike Down Bill That Would Require Police To Publicly Release Body Camera Video

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Montgomery Alabama State Capitol building with columns, steps, Dome, flags, a Liberty Bell replica, and beautiful landscaping

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Republicans in Alabama are making it harder for families who have been the victims of police violence to get the transparency they deserve. 

According to AP, on Wednesday, an Alabama Senate committee rejected a bill that would have required law enforcement to publicly release police body-worn camera video and vehicle dash camera footage.

The bill, which was rejected 8-4 by the Senate Judiciary, would have made police bodycam recordings public record and would require the video be released to the public within 30 days of a request. The bill would have also allowed civilians to petition a circuit judge in the county if law enforcement refused to release the video.

The bill was created after several Black men died during altercations with police in Alabama. 

Jawan Dallas died July 2, 2023 following an encounter that the police claim stemmed from the 36-year-old attempting to burglarize a motor home in the city of Mobile. Dallas, who was unarmed, was allegedly mistaken for a burglary suspect by police, according to family lawyers.

Dallas’ family and their attorneys demanded the Mobile Police Department release any body camera footage from the deadly encounter to set the record straight, but their request was never granted.

On Sept. 29, 2023 while at home, Steve Perkins was shot and killed by Alabama police during a dispute with a tow truck driver. The three officers involved in the shooting were later fired after video from a neighbor’s home surveillance camera was published by WAFF-TV. The name of the officer who shot Steve Perkins was never released, nor was any body camera video. 

Sen. Merika Coleman, the sponsor of the rejected bill, says she fears families won’t get the transparency they deserve without this bill.

“My major concern is making sure that families have access to the body cam,” she told AP.

From AP:

Coleman said families of people who have died in altercations with police have had delays or difficulty seeing body camera footage despite a state law saying they should have access. She said public release would also clamp down on rumors that arise when a person is killed or injured by police. She said the release could identify “bad apples” or verify that police acted properly.

She also said she doesn’t plan on giving up this fight and will be reintroducing the bill to the legislation next year. 

SEE ALSO:

‘Policies Were Violated’: Alabama Police Chief Blames Cops In Death Of Black Man

RIP Jawan Dallas: Family Sues After Unarmed Black Man Tased ‘Until He Died’ By Alabama Cops

Rest In Power: Notable Black People Who Have Died This Year
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