RULES FOR RELEASE of body-cam footage vary from state to state, department to department, and even case to case. In states where it falls under a public records law, the police usually have wide discretion to exempt the material from release on grounds it might violate someone’s privacy or is part of an ongoing criminal investigation. Other departments have made fulfilling requests prohibitively expensive, as in the cases where the Sarasota police billed the ACLU $18,000 and the New York Police Department demanded $36,000 of the news channel NY1 to fulfill records requests.
Atlanta Police spokesman Carlos Campos says the decision to release is “just a lot easier” when it’s a non-controversial event. “Where we’ve released them for positive purposes because there’s really not a question about the incident.”