Sept. 21 (UPI) — New York Attorney General Letitia James announced that from now on her office will release police body camera footage when an officer kills an unarmed civilian instead of leaving the decision to do so to the local authorities.
The police reform was prompted by the death of Daniel Prude who was killed earlier this year in police custody and by the fallout caused by local officials releasing such footage months after the incident occurred.
In a press conference held on what would have been Prude’s 42nd birthday in the city where he was killed, James said her office will be taking over the responsibility of releasing the police body camera footage as leaving it to local authorities has caused confusion, delays and the hampering of transparency.
“We will no longer wait for local authorities to determine when videos should be made available to the public, and
New York Attorney General Letitia James announced reforms for releasing police-worn body camera footage in response to the handling of the death of Daniel Prude, a Black man who died in March after he was seen being pinned to the ground by Rochester Police officers.
Prude’s death and the delay in the release of the video has resulted in the attorney general’s office implementing a new policy in which body camera footage will now be released earlier in the investigation process, as soon as jurisdiction has been established and the family has had a chance to see the video, James said.
Previously, releasing any body camera footage was up to the discretion of the law enforcement agency, James said, describing speculation as to whether the video connected to Prude’s death was suppressed due to the old policy as unfortunate.
Sunday would have been Prude’s 42nd birthday, James said, adding that