OLYMPIA — Police dashboard cameras can’t be withheld from public disclosure unless they relate to pending litigation, a divided state Supreme Court ruled Thursday.
Five of the high court’s members said that the Seattle Police Department wrongly used a state statute as a blanket exemption to the state’s public records act when it denied providing dashboard camera videos to a reporter with KOMO-TV. Their ruling overturns a 2012 King County Superior Court judge’s ruling that said the department could withhold the videos for three years.
The statute being cited exempts from disclosures some recordings made by police. Four of the justices agreed that statute in question was an exception to the state’s public records act. But they also noted that exemptions must be narrowly interpreted and “does not create a blanket exemption for any video that might be the subject of litigation” More here.
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