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  • DC Mayor Claims Releasing Police Body Camera Footage Would Be Too Expensive

    At a meeting with the District of Columbia City Council Tuesday, Mayor Muriel Bowser said it would cost the city too much money to allow the public to see footage captured on police body cameras.

    Bowser told the council if they do not accept her proposal to exempt all body camera footage from Freedom of Information Act requests, it could cost $1.5 million a year, The Washington Post reported.

    Without the exemption, Bowser said, it would unbalance the budget and would not allow the city’s chief financial officer to certify it.

    The city launched its police body camera program last October, and since then has denied every FOIA request for police video.

    Bowser has received criticism from civil rights groups for her stance on releasing the video to the public, with many saying it defeats the purpose of having body cameras if nobody can see the video.

    Bowser and Police Chief Cathy Lanier, though have said the video captured on the body cameras should be treated just like any other evidence in a criminal case. People involved in the case, like prosecutors and defense attorneys, would have access to the raw video, but it would only be made public under certain circumstances.

    At a recent city council meeting, Lanier said the technology to redact the video for public consumption is still in its infancy and it would take a very long time and be very costly do so.

    In order to see exactly how much the video redaction will cost the city, people will have to wait until the final budget bill is released next week.

    Council is set to vote on the budget at its regular legislative meeting Tuesday.

    A spokesperson for Bowser did not respond to request for comment for this story.

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