Governor Mark Dayton thinks a bill that regulates who can have access to police body camera video defeats the purpose of the cameras — establishing public confidence in the police.
“Body cams mean that that public record should be available to everybody at the same time,” Dayton said in response to a question from The UpTake about the bill. Dayton is not sure if he is going to sign it.
“My issue was not that I oppose law enforcement being able to review the video before they filed their reports. That wasn’t the issue for me. It was that they were given the exclusive ability, right to do that. And meanwhile the (video) could be withheld from everyone else.
“You can debate that point back and forth but the effect of it would be to destroy the public confidence in body cameras which is the very purpose of the body cameras to begin with.”
The bill, which was largely written by police lobbyists, passed during the closing hours of the Minnesota legislature. Police body cams are already used in some Minnesota cities, but some cities have been hesitant to equip their officers with them because of the questions around who has access to the video.
If Dayton were to veto the bill, police could still use body cameras, however Dayton says access to the data could be regulated by local laws and regulations.
Opposition from NAACP
The NAACP of Minneapolis wants police to have body cams, but oppose the bill because police can block public access to the video.
Earlier this week Dayton said he would decide to sign or veto the bills the legislature passed 48 hours after they arrived on his desk. It now sounds like he will take the holiday weekend to consider them. He has up to 14 days to sign the bills after they are passed or they fail to become law.