MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — A bill in the legislature is aiming for more transparency in policing. It creates a way for those closest to the person in a recording, or the person himself, to see what happened.
Bill sponsor Rep. Juandalynn Givan says it’s about transparency and giving a family answers.
“What we are saying is we’re giving enough that the representatives of those families can get some general information as to what happened,” Givan said.
The bill outlines a process, beginning with making a written request to a law enforcement agency, detailing what you want to see and the approximate time and date it happened.
Police can deny that request if they see it would negatively affect an ongoing investigation.
If they grant the request, in order to see it, you’d have to be either visibly or audibly in the video, or a personal representative of the person in the video — for example, he or she is a minor, incapacitated or has since died.
The bill allows only for disclosure, not the release of recordings, meaning those select people could see the video, but it would not be made public.
Givan says the state needs something like this following the release of police videos nationally that have sparked an outcry over policing.
“The timing is right. That was the thing — I used Tyre Nichols, what the public did not realize, or what actually happened in that case, a couple of weeks before it was totally released to the public, the family had an opportunity to see it. What did that do? It softened the effect. It softened the blow,” Givan said.
The bill has received bipartisan support, passing unanimously in a House committee last week. Givan expects it will get a vote in the House Thursday.