Claremore Daily Progress

State/Nation

June 1, 2013

Court rules dashcam videos open

OKLAHOMA CITY —

Videos of police stops and arrests captured by dashboard-mounted cameras in patrol cars are public records subject to release under Oklahoma’s Open Records Act, an appellate court ruled on Friday.
In a 2-1 ruling by a three-member panel of the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals, the court overturned a decision by a Rogers County District Court Judge that such videos were not a public record subject to disclosure. 
But the court noted the state’s Open Records Act specifically states that public records include “facts concerning the arrest, including the cause of arrest.”
“The dash cam video at issue here is a recording created by and under the authority of public officials in connection with the transaction of public business,” Judge Robert Bell wrote in the majority opinion. 
“Thus, the arrest video is a ‘record’ as defined by the Act.”
Vinita attorney Josh Lee, who filed the lawsuit against the City of Claremore and several city officials, said he was pleased with the court’s ruling.
“It’s a good ruling for us. It’ s a good ruling for the citizen involved. It’s a good ruling for the public, anyone who’s a fan of open government,” said Lee, who often represents clients charged with alcohol and driving related criminal offenses. “It’s good for the citizen, because unfortunately way too often we get video tapes that prove what the arresting officer wrote in the original report isn’t accurate.
“Getting these videos is the best way for us to determine exactly what happened.”
The court also ruled Lee was entitled to “reasonable attorney fees.”
Matthew Ballard, an attorney representing Claremore, did not immediately return a telephone message seeking comment.
Open government advocates praised the ruling as a victory for the public.
“Common sense would say this is a public record, but unfortunately we had a trial court judge in Rogers County who didn’t see it that way,” said Joey Senat, a journalism professor at Oklahoma State University and an expert on media law. 
The public should know what the facts are concerning when someone is arrested.
“If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the video should be worth a million words.”

1
Text Only
State/Nation
  • Grand jury reviewing misconduct accusations reconvenes in OKC

    The multicounty grand jury charged with investigating accusations of misconduct by Rogers County officials reconvenes today in Oklahoma City.

    April 15, 2014

  • Lawyers protest move to take over judicial appointments
    A top Oklahoma lawyer is protesting a move by the Legislature to wrest control of the way judges are chosen, which she says could taint the state’s judicial system.
     

    April 15, 2014

  • Search teams will send unmanned sub to look for missing Malaysian airliner

    Teams searching for a missing Malaysian airliner are planning for the first time to send an unmanned submarine into the depths of the Indian Ocean to look for wreckage, an Australian official leading the multi-nation search said Monday.

    April 14, 2014

  • Tax Day deadline Chances of getting audited by IRS lowest in years

    As millions of Americans race to meet Tuesday’s tax deadline, their chances of getting audited are lower than they have been in years.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Candidates begin filing for county, statewide races

    The candidate filing period for the June 24 statewide election officially opened Wednesday morning, and will remain open until 5 p.m. Friday. 

    April 9, 2014

  • New Share the Spirit President Commissioners to discuss audit information

    While no audit information was addressed during a regular Rogers County Commissioners meeting Monday, plans for an upcoming public hearing were mentioned.

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • ODOT chief warns of project delays

    Oklahoma’s transportation director says road projects across the state will face significant delays if the Legislature pushes forward with a plan to divert transportation funding to education over the next several years.

    April 7, 2014

  • County officials 2012 audit repeats 2011 findings

    Oklahoma State Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones released the 2012 audit Thursday for Rogers County listing repeated findings from the 2011 audit that was released Wednesday.

    April 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • Report on Audit State auditor reveals possible fraud

    Oklahoma State Auditor Gary Jones determined officials in Rogers County violated state law, submitted fictitious invoices, back dated records and failed to properly document $5 million in federal FEMA funds.

    April 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • Nonprofit insurers struggle in new marketplaces

    A smorgasbord of options and lower prices for consumers were two of the chief selling points for President Barack Obama as he promoted his overhaul of the nation’s health insurance industry, predicting Americans would see “competition in ways we haven’t seen before.” Companies were even started as a way to encourage innovation and competition, namely 23 consumer-run, co-op insurers created with the help of $2 billion in federal loans.

     

    April 2, 2014

Poll

Severe storm season is beginning. Do you have a storm readiness plan at home?

Yes
No
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video