New efforts behind bill that reforms accessibility to bodycam footage

Updated: May. 5, 2021 at 11:03 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - There has been a new push to get state legislation passed that would require police to release their recordings upon request.

State Rep. Juandalyn Givan (D) said she’d been working to pass a state law requiring police to release recordings in a timely manner to families of those killed or hurt during an interaction with police or upon request from the press for several years.

She said she filed the first bill in 2019.

“Right after the E.J. Bradford murder. Because I still call it a murder,” Rep. Givan said.

She said families should not have to protest or beg to see police bodycam or dashcam video.

“Trying to give individual family members the right to petition to see the body cam information or any demonstrative information, relative to the incidents that may have occurred, which ultimately caused the death, harm or injury to their loved one,” Rep. Givan said.

Givan said the bill was sponsored twice but never brought up in committee.

She said the original bill drew criticism from some lawmakers and the media who opposed the language in the bill because members of the press felt it excluded them.

In a renewed push to get a law on the books, Givan said she filed the bill again in February 2021.

The bill now called HB 6.

It’s sponsored by Givan and Rep. Anthony Daniels.

Givan says she’s now planning to rewrite HB 6.

“Spell it out clear as it relates to media access as well. To strengthen the bill, I will also have issues in there relative to chokeholds, your foot or knee on the neck; it’s a multitude of things. I’m going to straighten that bill, and I’m going to try to come up with a comprehensive police reform bill here for the state of Alabama.”

Givan said she hoped to make it a bipartisan effort by sitting down with other lawmakers, law enforcement, and media to write the bill in a way that’s inclusive to everyone.

“We don’t want this to be us against the police. We don’t hate the police,” Givan said.

WBRC sought comment from several republican lawmakers we did not hear back before this article was written.

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