SALT LAKE CITY — Describing a need to balance public responsiveness with due process, Salt Lake officials say police body camera video from “critical incidents” will be released after 10 days.
Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski and Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill stood together Tuesday to announce the new policy for the Salt Lake City Police Department.
Effective immediately, all body camera video from an officer-involved critical incident — such as an officer-involved shooting, a fatal injury caused by an officer’s vehicle, the death of a person in law enforcement custody, or a person who dies while an officer is arresting that person or attempting to prevent that person from escaping — will be classified as a public record 10 business days after the incident barring any “unusual or unforeseen circumstances,” according to the mayor.
After those 10 days, video can be released subject to conditions of the state’s public records laws.
“Government should always strive to be responsive to the needs of residents while holding to values such as due process. I believe this policy carefully balances the need for transparency while providing due process for investigations,” Biskupski said of her new executive order.
Protesters who gathered in front of City Hall Tuesday evening slammed the order, saying the “unusual or unforeseen circumstances” exception gives the city broad power to hide videos from the public. Speakers in the group of about 40 called for the Salt Lake City Council to shrink the window from 10 days to 24 hours and for the city to issue stronger, immediate penalties to officers who shoot civilians.
“Transparency without accountability just makes this a shooting gallery,” Jacob Jensen said at the rally organized by Utah Against Police Brutality. Several protesters went to the council’s meeting to voice their dismay. The group noted…