The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled the public should have access to dash camera video footage unless the police agency can prove it amounts to criminal investigative material and may be redacted, reported the Associated Press.
The Supreme Court ruled 5-2 in favor of a lower-court decision granting access to video shot by the dash cameras of two state troopers’ vehicles as they responded to a 2014 crash near State College. The majority says police vehicle recordings, as a general rule, are not exempt from public disclosure.
The state police had argued the recordings always contain criminal investigative material, but Justice Kevin Dougherty wrote that such determinations must be made on a case-by-case basis.
In the dispute before the court, he said, the video showed troopers investigating the crash scene and talking to the drivers and bystanders.
The decision said the only part of the recordings that is potentially investigative was the audio from witness interviews — portions that had been ordered redacted by a lower court.
“PSP simply does not explain how the video portion of the (recordings) captured any criminal investigation,” Dougherty wrote.
State police had argued the videos should be exempt under the Right-to-Know Law and a state law limiting access to criminal records. An agency spokesman said the case was under review.
The state associations of county commissioners and township supervisors had supported the state police’s position, arguing the response to a traffic crash made the recordings investigative in nature.
The requester, Michelle Grove, wanted videos taken after a crash in Potters Mills, about 15 miles east of State College. One driver was cited for not wearing a seatbelt and the other for failing to yield.
To read more CLICK HERE