South Carolina bill requires police to get judge’s OK to withhold video

Law enforcement agencies in South Carolina would need a judge's permission to withhold dashcam video under legislation intended to prevent police from indefinitely blocking the public's ability to scrutinize an officer's action.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Larry Martin said Thursday his bill could inject confidence in a police decision.

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Editorial: South Carolina bill would streamline FOIA process

Most of us saw recent news accounts of a Chicago police officer involved shooting that occurred one year ago. The dashcam video of that tragic incident shows a young man being shot in the back. Evidence was released last week that the young man was shot 14 more times as he lay on the ground, purportedly by the same officer’s gun.

That it took one year for that particular investigation to play out and for an arrest to be made is impossible to comprehend.

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South Carolina bill would change release of police dash cam videos

South Carolina's chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee wants a new system for making public police dash cam videos to prevent unnecessary delays.

The bill by Sen. Larry Martin of Pickens would require that all law enforcement dash cam videos are releasable under the state Freedom of Information Act but their release could be delayed if prosecutors and law enforcement seek an injunction after convincing a judge, who could conduct a private review of the video.

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SC Body Camera Bill Limits Access to Footage

Today South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley will sign S.47, a body camera bill. The bill requires state and local law enforcement agencies in South Carolina to use body cameras and to develop body camera policies and procedures. It also establishes a “Body-Worn Cameras Fund” and prohibits police body camera footage from being accessed via Freedom of Information (FOIA) requests. The increased use of police body cameras is worthwhile, but limiting access to the footage hinders attempts to increase law enforcement accountability.  

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South Carolina: Lawmakers half-hearted about FOI

A legislative session that was most notable for how little it accomplished followed suit on issues regarding open, transparent government.

In what should be considered a victory, a new South Carolina law will do what many thought was already called for and had thus been doing for years. It requires public bodies to have agendas. Further, the agenda may be changed only with proof of emergency circumstances and two thirds of the body agreeing to the changes.

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South Carolina Supreme Court hears Project Jackson case

Oral arguments on the Project Jackson case were presented Tuesday before the S.C. Supreme Court.

The case of Steve Donohue v. the City of North Augusta, Mayor Lark Jones and the North Augusta City Council went before the state’s highest court with the issues of proving blight in a Tax Increment Financing, or TIF, district, and Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, violations coming under question from the five Supreme Court Justices.

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