Access to police videos prompts Open Records clash

Ponca City Now - March 1, 2015 7:04 pm

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Public and media access to police footage from cameras worn by officers or in their patrol cars has led to a clash over Oklahoma’s Open Records Act as police and prosecutors seek to limit what kinds of videos are publicly released.

Advocates for more government openness became defensive after a bill in a House committee was amended to gut a law that allows the public to access government records. Representative Mike Christian, a former Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper and the committee’s chairman, acknowledged his amendment went too far and says he will work with prosecutors, police and the press on a compromise.

Meanwhile, freshman Democratic Representative Claudia Griffith, who authored the original bill, said she would not bring it to her colleagues without a major rewrite.

Mark Thomas, who represents dozens of newspapers across the state as the executive vice president of the Oklahoma Press Association, said he’s willing to work with law enforcement and district attorneys "to find a balance that is necessary so the public can know what the government is doing and the government can do its job."


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