Bill would let N.J. cops review their bodycam video before writing reports

Critics worry the measure would inspire selective report writing, while police unions argued the change would create more accurate reports


By Ted Sherman
nj.com

TRENTON, N.J. — A controversial bill that would allow police officers to review their own body camera footage before writing reports passed the Legislature Monday and now heads to the governor’s desk.

Police would still have to write initial summaries from memory in cases where somebody died. Critics have decried the measure, arguing that officers might omit key details about an incident if they knew what the footage did and didn’t show while police unions argued the change would simply allow for more accurate reports..

The bill, A5864, had been conditionally vetoed in November by Gov. Phil Murphy, with recommendations to modify the circumstances under which initial access to body cam recordings was restricted, including the use of force by an officer, the discharge of a firearm or any other use of deadly force by a law enforcement officer and the death of a person while in law enforcement custody.

An amended bill was passed in the Assembly in late December and sailed through the Senate on Monday, 38-1, with Sen. Nia Gill, D- Essex, an outspoken opponent, the only “no” vote.

Every police department in New Jersey has been required to have body cameras since June, under separate legislation signed by Murphy.

RELATED: Should cops see body cam video before giving use-of-force statements?

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