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Senate Committee Shuts Down Body Cam Transparency Bill 

A proposed bill in Alabama to make body camera footage publicly accessible was voted down by the state's Senate Judiciary Committee, with a vote tally of 8 against and 4 in favor. Senator Merika Coleman, a Democrat from Pleasant Grove, initiated the legislation following a fatal incident involving Mobile police and Jawan Dallas last year. Coleman, undeterred by the rejection, remains hopeful for future progress and is prepared to refine the bill's language to address concerns and gain wider support.

"We have to do something. It is not OK with me to sit back and allow these families to continue to endure this agony when I as a lawmaker can do something about it," Coleman said.

The bill dubbed the "Jawan Dallas and Stephen Perkins Act," was motivated by the incidents where both individuals were killed during encounters with police, with families unable to access the relevant body cam footage promptly. Coleman's bill sought to mandate the public release of such footage within thirty days to provide transparency and potentially clear misconceptions about police actions.

"After the death of Jawan Dallas and the family didn't have access to body cam footage for six months," Coleman explained. "The easiest way to do it is to make it a matter of public record and so my bill says within thirty days it becomes a matter of public record."

Despite its rejection, some opposition exists due to worries that early footage release could interfere with legal proceedings. However, Coleman reports that discussions with various stakeholders, including police representatives, have been somewhat positive, with openness to negotiate the bill's provisions. Coleman emphasized her commitment to continuing her efforts in upcoming legislative sessions to build a stronger support base for the bill.

Link: Fox10TV


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