Don’t Censor Police Body Camera Footage

Police Officers

Target: Missouri State Senator Doug Libla

Goal: Let police officers’ body camera video recordings be part of the public record.

Missouri police departments could become legally exempt from having to divulge video recordings from their police officers’ body cameras to the public, if legislation introduced by State Senator Doug Libla becomes law. This would completely neuter what is supposed to be a method to increase police accountability to the public. Demand that Senator Libla abandon his misguided proposal at once.

In the wake of Michael Brown’s shooting death at the hands of a white police officer and the fierce backlash it caused both in Missouri and across the country, there has been a renewed effort to outfit police departments with body cameras that officers can wear to record their interactions with people. This is in an attempt to increase transparency and hold officers more accountable for their actions by providing firsthand audio and video that can be leveraged by the public in instances of police violence to be sure those who do wrong are held responsible.

Senator Libla’s proposal would completely dismantle this. Not only would it revoke the right of citizens to request police body camera video from departments via Missouri’s open record laws, but it would prevent the state from legally mandating police departments outfit their officers with cameras.

America needs more police accountability, not less. Sign the petition below to demand that Senator Libla rescind his legislation from consideration so that it never has the chance to become law.


Dear Senator Libla,

I am writing you today regarding Senate Bill No. 331, a piece of legislation you have recently introduced. It is a horrible proposal that moves Missouri, and indeed America as a whole, in the completely wrong direction.

The idea behind giving police officers body cameras to wear is that when they murder an unarmed civilian, or conduct any other wrongdoing, a recording of it will be guaranteed for review and investigation. In a word, it’s for accountability. Public access to the footage is an integral component of this ethic. Your legislation, however, would completely undermine that. It would deny citizens the right to access body camera footage and even prevent police officers from needing to wear body cameras in the first place. They would continue to be free to abuse their powers at will and without proper accountability.

Your legislation entirely defeats the purpose of body cameras and will only embolden police officers to try to get away with more crimes than they already do. I demand that you rescind Senate Bill No. 331 from consideration so that it can never become law.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Rama via Wikimedia Commons

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