Knox County May Reportedly Prevent Taxpayers from Seeing Police Videos

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According to various news outlets out of Knoxville, Knox County prosecutors are working to make sure members of the public can’t see police videos outside a courtroom.

According to KnoxNews.com, these include all police cruiser and body-camera videos in criminal cases. Anyone who allows taxpayers to see these videos may face fines or jail time, the website reported.

“Anyone on the list who shared a video before it’s filed in court could be held in criminal contempt, including members of a defendant’s family,” KnoxNews.com reported.

“The ban would last until prosecutors drop or decide not to file charges, a grand jury chooses not to indict, a judge throws out a case, a jury votes not guilty — or longer in case of a guilty plea or verdict. Videos not introduced at trial could take years or decades to become public. The prosecution file would become open at the end of the last appeal, plus one year.”

The Knoxville-based WATE said Knox County District Attorney General Charme Allen drafted the order.

The station quoted Deputy District Attorney General Kyle Hixson as saying the prosecution file would become open at the end of the last appeal, plus one year.

As KnoxNews.com reported, “appeals in Tennessee routinely take years. Murder cases can drag on for decades.”

“Cruiser and body-camera videos regularly help expose cases and patterns of potential police misconduct,” the website reported.

Videos also exonerate officers, or prove them in the right, KnoxNews.com said.

Hixson told the website that “making the videos public early could prejudice jurors against a defendant or unfairly ruin reputations.”

“Without a ban in place, he suggested, unscrupulous attorneys could plaster police videos across social media to smear rape victims’ reputations, gangs could sniff out informants and tearful statements from abused children could end up online,” Hixson reportedly said.

As The Tennessee Star reported in December, Metro Nashville rolled out body cameras on all officers in 2019, adding another costly layer of regulation to law enforcement.

The program involves multiple rounds of solicitations, according to the city’s RFP. The plan is to provide cameras to place on 1,500 officers as well as on 870 car dashboards. Video would be stored either on-site or on the cloud.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to chrisbutlerjournalist@gmail.com. 

 

 

 

 

 

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