Lawmakers debate the right to record and keep footage of police

From The Colorado Independent:  A 12-year old girl in Golden shoots cellphone video of an arrest. Police cuff her and take her phone. A man outside a Lakeside Walmart films a shoplifter’s arrest then ends up in handcuffs himself. A bystander in Denver films while narcotics officers repeatedly punch a man in the face then trip his pregnant girlfriend. The footage is confiscated and deleted by law enforcement. The bystander salvages 55 seconds from a cloud server and leaks it to the media.

These are just a handful of the Colorado cases in the last year motivating a citizen’s right-to-record bill in the State Legislature.

Transparency advocates say it’s high time for a bill like this, which acknowledges the increasing role that citizen video is playing in community relationships with law enforcement.

“Police are not adequately trained for this new world in which basically every citizen has a video camera on their person at all times,” said American Civil Liberties Union Colorado spokesman John Krieger.

“We’re seeing, by and large, that video is exposing police conduct that is both wonderful and horrific. We want to honor the beautiful, and we should, just as much as we should condemn the horrific,” said sponsor Rep. Joe Salazar, D-Thornton. “Video has really just exposed just how much work we have to do.”

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