Old time local journalists who follow my news site will know what the “JS JOURNALISM AWARD” actually is. The short explanation is when a reporter gets too close to the people they are supposed to be writing about they, don’t inform the public of the whole story, and simply take the word of, as well as assist those folks, in the narrative they want projected to the public.
This SR story is a finalist for the award.
What is absolutely amazing about the SR story is that it appeared in the SR on June 10th, 2016, one day after the very significant law enforcement and local government backed Public Records Body Camera Law went into effect, yet there is NO MENTION of it in the story and the new law has everything to do with the narrative SPD, and now apparently permanently, “Major” Lundgren are trying to project.
When I confronted Rachel Alexander with the fact that the SR hasn’t covered the new Body Camera Law she protested that the SR had covered the Bill and provided me this link to their coverage.
You can check for yourself folks but THAT IS IT for SR coverage on the Bill, and if that is “coverage” on a significant Body Camera Bill…I’ll eat my hat.
Needless to say I have covered Body Camera Issues as well as the new law a number of times, as has other media, and the SR is welcome to use any of my stories at any time as I have expressed to them a number of times. The fact that other media outlet gets the facts should not curtail getting the truth out whether it is an embarrassment to them or not.
Some will say it is just that damn Breen again and his obsession with Body Cameras!
NOPE!!!…not just me!!!
Under the new law, certain videos would be presumptively private, such as footage that shows a dead body, was recorded in a home or shows a minor. Such footage would be withheld unless the requester can demonstrate that the video is of legitimate public concern.
The Associated Press
I suppose I have to accept some responsibility for this new law that restricts public access to Body Camera Video because I wrote the questions the State AG answered in which he stated that BC Video was subject to the Washington State Public Records Act which was in existence at the time of his opinion.
- What legal standards or rules of evidence establish the requirements for preservation of intercepted private conversations or video evidence making such evidence available in its original format for a citizen seeking damages under RCW 9.73.030?
Brief Answer: In order to use a recording as evidence in a criminal or civil case, the recording would be subject to the same laws and rules governing all evidence, including the requirement that the chain of custody be established to prove no tampering has occurred. Record retention schedules would also govern how long a recording must be kept. Recordings and records about the recordings would be subject to discovery, as well as the Public Records Act and its exemptions. In establishing body camera systems, agencies should therefore give significant thought to how to categorize and store recordings.
- Does RCW 9.73.090 limit the lawful interception of conversations via a body‑mounted camera by law enforcement officers to only those interactions with citizens where the body camera is “operated simultaneously” with video cameras “mounted in law enforcement vehicles”? An example would be when an officer leaves a vehicle and enters a residence.
Brief Answer: No. While RCW 9.73.090 strictly governs the use of vehicle‑mounted police cameras, it does not restrict the use of body-mounted cameras or recorders unless they are part of a vehicle-mounted system.
For someone very familiar with RCW 9.73, Attorney General Ferguson’s answers to my questions were very predictable. It was also very predictable that law enforcement and local governments would pressure the Washington State Legislature to restrict public access to Body Camera Video, which they attempted to do on several occasions. We of course have ended up with this new law which given the strength of the law enforcement and local government lobby in Olympia was also very predictable.
Now to Rachel Alexander’s story:
I won’t get into the Taser Contract again, apparently no one has read it, so what is the use I keep asking myself.
QUOTES FROM THE STORY:
“Spokane will be able to swap its older cameras at no cost, said Maj. Justin Lundgren, who oversees the body camera program. But the city could pay more for video storage if the higher-quality recordings take up more space.”
Come on Justin… we both know that the new law decreases the retention period for the BC Video from 90 days to 60 days, so after 60 days you will be dumping one hell of a lot of data storage on Evidence.com just like you have been. (Pay Attention City Council…the retention period is up to you!)
“The body camera hardware and Evidence.com subscription cost about $555,000 in the initial contract. Video storage makes up about half that cost, the contract shows.”
The contract shows??? What the hell do the actual payments to Taser show????
“Taser was designated a sole-source provider, meaning the city did not take bids from competing companies.”
Well yes…a company Frank Straub’s buddy Bernie Kerik made a bunch of money from by selling his shares just before he went to federal prison for taking Mafia payoffs.
“Some of that video will be deleted once the department finalizes a policy on camera use and video retention, Lundgren said.”
Ever wonder why it is taking so long to “finalize a policy”??? Well here is your answer;
Mayor Condon, Frank Straub, and the City Council gave control of Body Cameras to the Spokane Police Guild.
“We’re talking a lot more data that will have to be recorded,” Lundgren said.
To Quote good old Abraham Lincoln:
“You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”
YES, this story is critical of Rachel Alexander’s reporting of SPD’s newest PR Release, and she is more than welcome to criticize my reporting…I don’t circle the wagons and run and hide…have at it Rachel. To be quite clear this story is far more a criticism of Rachel’s editors who absolutely refuse to print anything of substance which reflects negatively on their guy…THE MAYOR!
Is it any wonder why folks at the Spokesman Review don’t cotton (no pun intended) to me much??? 🙂
I REPORT YOU DECIDE!