COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Legislation regarding the use of body-worn cameras and dashboard cameras by peace officers has been introduced by State Rep. Dontavius Jarrells (D-Columbus).
The proposed law also addresses use of excessive force by peace officers, and the public release of body-worn camera or dashboard camera recordings when there is an allegation of peace officer misconduct.
The legislation, known as Andre’s Law (HB) 367 was introduced on Thursday. It has yet to be assigned a committee, according to a press release from Jarrells’ office. It was named for Andre Hill, who was shot four times by a former Columbus police officer.
“There needs to be requirements in place that serve as proactive versus reactive measures when it comes to potential officer-involved misconduct. It is important to be able to provide transparency for the families who are affected by officer-involved shootings so that everyone is held accountable,” said Rep. Jarrells in a media statement.
Rep. Jarrells and current Franklin County Commissioner Erica C. Crawley developed the bill following the killing of Andre Hill by Columbus Police while he was holding a cell phone in December 2020. The officer who shot Andre Hill did not have his body camera turned on during the incident, leaving the community with many questions as to what led to this killing. Jarrells and Crawley worked with many agencies and members of the community to draft the legislation, the media statement said.
House Bill 367 would implement the following procedures, according to a media release:
- If a law enforcement agency receives a complaint regarding alleged misconduct by an officer, the agency must publicly release all unedited video and recordings of the alleged incident within 21 days of receiving the complaint.
- If the recorded alleged incident involves an individual’s death, the law enforcement agency shall provide the recording to the person’s spouse, parent, legal guardian, child, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, significant other, or legal representative upon request.
- Require every law enforcement agency in Ohio, by July 1, 2023, to provide body cameras to each officer in the agency (including correctional officers).
- Limit the circumstances in which an officer may turn off the body camera (i.e. when recording personal information not pertinent to a case; during an extended period of inactivity; during administrative, tactical, or management discussions).
- If an officer fails to turn on their body camera or dashboard camera, or tampers with any portion of the recording, it is inferred that the missing recording would have demonstrated misconduct by the officer.