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Governor signs bill allowing police to keep videos secret

Officers Shot Oklahoma
Posted at 10:22 AM, Apr 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-19 11:22:00-04

OKLAHOMA CITY — Gov. Kevin Stitt signed legislation Monday to allow law enforcement to keep from the public audio or video recordings showing an officer’s line-of-duty death.

The measure was drafted after Tulsa police were required under Oklahoma law to release a video of a suspect shooting two officers, one of whom later died. A jury trial began Monday for the man accused of the killing.

“This bill is about protecting the dignity not only of our fallen heroes but their fellow officers and surviving family members who can be retraumatized by these recordings,” Sen. John Haste, R-Broken Arrow, said in a statement. “It can also make it more difficult to seat a jury in such cases.”

The bill prohibits the public release of such videos unless a judge determines the public interest outweighed the reason for denial. It also authorizes a deceased officer’s family members to view the audio or video.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys retain the right to use such videos in legal proceedings under the new law.

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