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Re: Citizen access to camera footage maintained by our police. Is citizen access to police maintained camera footage, is that access illusory?

From: domainremoved <Aram>
Date: Wed, 28 Jan 2015 09:11:51 -0800

(Started 1-26-2015)

Hi Peter,
Thanks for sending out this critical information for public consumption and further discussion. I just spoke ( this evening) re the need for the city of Palo Alto to engage in a robust conversation re the scope of citizen access to footage captured on cameras used by the police, that are purchased by tax payer money. This includes cameras installed in patrol vehicles, as well as body worn cameras. Here is a hypothetical: (An of course I would be delighted if others jump into this discussion to give a different view point on the hypothetical I am posing, and then attempting to answer). hypothetical: let's say that in the recent officer involved shooting/killing of an alleged burglary suspect, by three members of the Menlo Park Police Department, was actually captured on the body worn cameras. ( As as aside, the two Menlo Park police officers who apparently had their body worn cameras on their uniforms, at the time of the fatal shooting, now apparently, and incredibly, claim that neither one bothered to turn their cameras when dispatched to the quickly evolving alleged crime scene).

If the officers were not charged with a crime, growing out of this incident, and the Menlo Park City Council members wanted to see the police maintained footage, would the council or citizens be entitled to view the footage? Answer: Unless the police believe the footage puts their officers in a favorable light, and decide to exercise their discretion to release the tape--there is in fact no affirmative right for the council members or citizens to view the footage of the police shooting/killing. Why? The police can, and will, invoke the ongoing investigation exception to the California Public Records Act (CPRA). ( see Government Code & 6254 (f), which exempts a wide array of law enforcement records including investigations. ( see crime pro of 284-285) In fact, even at the end of the so-called investigation, the police are not, and will not, release the footage pursuant to the going investigation exception, unless, of course, the tape shows the police in a favorable light. In effect, the citizens/tax payers are paying for police cameras and footage, which they do not have any actual right to access, unless, of course, they are charged with a crime.
Another issue to consider: should, as apparently the Menlo Park police management is requesting, the police be allowed to turn off police used cameras when interviewing incentivized confidential informants-snitches? My answer is absolutely not! Leave the cameras running! Why? Note : I spoke at MP council where policy issues re body worn cameras were in fact and agendized
item. I stressed

( snitch issue)?

Of course until
DA Wagstaffe's investigation is complete we can say for certain that no footage was in fact captured.



> Jeff,
>
> Thanks for clarifying that citizens lose their right to privacy, even in public bathrooms, when there exists a reasonable suspicion by one party that a crime is occurring or is about to occur. This should allay any fears of the Menlo Park and Palo Alto City Councils regarding the perpetual recording by their officers while on duty.
>
> "The Nov. 11 incident went out as a "suspicious person" call, which Chief Jonsen said normally turns into a case where the person is in fact somewhere they have a right to be. This can make it a challenge to know when to activate a camera, given that the battery carries only about a 3-hour charge, and the officer works a 12-hour shift."
>
> Peter
>
>
>
> Forty-Niner bathroom brawl
>
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=csUjXQvXPeo
>
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UA8eGLSuV24
> http://www.mercurynews.com/bay-area-news/ci_26673389/santa-clara-restroom-attack-at-levis-stadium-may
>
>
> http://elitedaily.com/sports/new-stadium-fans-bathroom-brawl-49ers-game-gets-hand-video/785884/
>
>
>
> SAN JOSE -- A 41-year-old man has been identified in the beating of another man in a Fowler Creek Park bathroom Monday, authorities said.
>
>
> Police are looking for Francisco Javier Olivo, of San Jose, who they say is wanted for felony assault after he attacked a man in the restroom of the park at Altia Avenue and Cortona Drive on Labor Day afternoon.
> The man, who has not been identified, suffered non-life-threatening facial injuries after Olivo hit him several times before letting him leave. The assault was captured on cellphone video by someone who knew Olivo, police said, and it was turned over to the police.
>
>
> San Jose: Man wanted for felony assault in Fowler Creek Park bathroom turns himself in
>
> SAN JOSE -- The 41-year-old wanted in the assault of another man inside a bathroom at Fowler Creek Park after the man allegedly exposed himself last week has turned himself in, police said.
>
> Francisco Javier Olivo surrendered to San Jose police Friday after the department revealed he had been identified as the suspect in a cell phone video that was captured inside one of the park's bathrooms on Labor Day.
>
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>
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Received on Wed Jan 28 2015 - 09:06:44 PST

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