Fresno City Council may be getting involved in police decisions to release body cam footage

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City Council Member Oliver Baines, a former police officer, introduced a measure to clarify policies on when body cam video can be released to the public. (KFSN)

The most recent use of police body cam video came in the police shooting of 19-year-old Dylan Noble. Chief Jerry Dyer made the chilling video public after a citizens cell phone video captured another angle on the shooting.

City Council Member Oliver Baines, a former police officer, introduced a measure to clarify policies on when such video can be released to the public.

"Video policing is a big deal and we want to make sure that in those critical incidents where something happens we are as transparent as possible. So the idea, because we know more incidents are caught on video, caught on tape, we want to make sure, when appropriate, we can get that information out to the public."

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer generally supports the proposal, but wants to make sure he has flexibility in making the final decision.

"I fully understand the intent behind the resolution and the need to insure transparency and a consistent mechanism in place to release video evidence. But I think we have to understand no two situations are alike and we have to be able to balance transparency with the need to protect the integrity of the investigation."

Attorney Stuart Chandler represents the mother of Dylan Noble in a lawsuit against the city. He has issues with the proposal.

"If the ordinance is passed as written it would allow the Fresno Police Department to change the video and audio on body cams."

Dyer agrees he should, in some circumstances, be able to edit the video before making it public.

"Whenever possible it should be released as is, however, I do understand there are times when public release of that video might need to be edited to protect certain privacies."

However, Dyer said it would be illegal for him to edit the raw video as it is used for evidence.

The City Council has tabled the discussion until next month when Mayor-Elect Lee Brand wants to bring more police related matters before the city council.
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