Depending on which state a person lives in, the laws governing the use of police body cameras varies significantly. Police officers first started to wear body cameras around 2005. Every state has its own rules concerning them, but in most cases, these cameras are considered a part of the officer’s uniform and most police officers to wear them.
Now the problem which arises is of privacy. There are many factors such as a person’s financial information or their health information which they would not like to be common public knowledge. Naturally, if a police officer is wearing a body camera and walking around then they can easily pick up on these privacy issues and it can become a real ethical problem.
Many individuals also harbor the concern that police officers may use this footage as a source of mass surveillance, and naturally, that goes against the free society which we all enjoy living in so much.
What can police officers record with their body cameras in Columbus, Ohio?
In Columbus, Ohio in particular, police officers are expected to turn off their body cameras if they expect privacy to be at stake. This goes for most other states as well. Police officers can also refuse to give out footage if they believe privacy is at risk or there is a threat posed to national security.
Depending on what state a person lives in, there are different rules concerning who can view the footage and when they can view it. In many cases, the video footage is only allowed to be seen when the person has high chances of being the actual culprit of a crime which was committed or it seems the officer is placing false allegations. There are also laws governing how long the video can be stored for as well. Asking a police brutality lawyer about the specific laws for their state and how and when the footage can be used is always a good idea.
Will this footage be used against me?
The footage from a police body camera can be used against you but it can also be used in your favor. Research revealed by the NCSL (National Conference of State Legislators) showed that when police officers were equipped with a body camera the chances of them using excessive force or acting out unjustly were reduced significantly; by 50%.
Also, complaints that citizens laid against officers was reduced by an alarming 90% as well. However, this research was just done in a trial period and that may have affected the results. The point is that a body camera seems to show strong potential for helping reduce police brutality and false arrests.
If a person believes that they have been a victim of police brutality they should get in touch with a police brutality lawyer in Columbus, Ohio to determine whether they will be eligible to use footage from the police body camera as evidence for their case.