Area lawmaker pushing bill for how, when police body camera video is used

Miami Valley state lawmaker Niraj Antani is hoping to win passage of a bill on police body cameras this week.

Under current law there are no rules for how and when police may use the cameras, or regulations on when that video may be made public, if ever.

>> Ohio looks to decide what police body cam footage is public

Rep. Antani, R-Miamisburg, said his proposal, House Bill 425, does not tell police when and where to use body cameras. It does tell police when the video can be released to the media and the public.

"It says that body camera video is a public record and then we give 17 exceptions. It is not (a public record) if you are in your private home or business. It does not if you are a victim of a sex crime. It does not if it's being used in an active investigation," Antani said.

The most difficult part of the negotiations over the bill came when the video is taken inside a home.

Gary Daniels of the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, said his organization is very supportive of privacy rights but because the bill balances those rights with the need for police accountability, his organization favors Antani's plan.

"Our public records are meant for people to keep an eye on what the government is going. What they should not be doing is for the people of Ohio to keep an eye on each other," Daniels said.

The Ohio House approved the bill earlier.  A Senate committee approved it last week and the full Senate may take up the plan Wednesday or Thursday.

Antani is not only hoping for the bill to be passed and sent on to the governor for his signature, but he also anticipates that passage may spur more police departments to adopt regular use of body cameras.

Antani said Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther told him Columbus will add widespread camera use only if lawmakers pass the bill to set the statewide standard for how the video can be released.

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