Ohio cop defends his YouTube channel after citizen complaints

The officer says he wants to show his community “what the police are really like”

By Suzie Ziegler 

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A Columbus police officer is defending his decision to share bodycam video on his personal YouTube channel after receiving multiple citizen complaints, ABC 6 reports. 

The channel in question, “Columbus Police Body Camera,” shares bodycam footage of police encounters with citizens. Despite its official-sounding name, the account is not run by the city or the Columbus Division of Police. All videos are obtained through public records requests, according to the channel’s description page. 

Not everyone is happy with this. According to ABC 6 journalist Lu Ann Stoia, some citizens “are concerned [the channel] shows people in their worst moments on camera.” 

But the officer – who is unnamed in the report but shows his face on camera – defended the project.

“This channel exists to show people especially in this community what the police are really like," the officer said in a video posted Wednesday. “I have seen a lot of stuff in comments lately about how I am exploiting these poor families. This that and the other, trying to get attention and fame for myself, which is not what I am doing.” 

A Columbus-based attorney says the officer is within his right to post the videos. 

“If a citizen gets a record from the government they can do whatever they want with it, whether a paper, a photo or even a video,” attorney Mark Weaver told ABC 6. “They can post it on social media, on the web —it’s public record. Police officers shouldn’t have more rights, but they shouldn’t have less rights.” 

However, Weaver says there are exceptions where law enforcement should blur parts of the video. According to ABC 6, the law states that “restricted portions” of video are not included in the definition of public record. Those “restricted portions” include the death of a first responder, grievous bodily harm, the identity of a child, and nudity, among others.

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