Chicago says it will now release police shooting videos quickly

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - A special task force is recommending the city of Chicago adopt a new policy on releasing police-involved shooting videos.

The Chicago Police Accountability Task Force is calling for the city to make the videos public within 60 days. It follows on the heels of a tremendous amount of public backlash that resulted from the city's battle to keep the Laquan McDonald video from being released, which was a battle that took 13 months and was finally resolved when a judge ordered the city to release the video.

Now, the city is hoping a new policy will restore trust.

“We don't think this is a cure all by any stretch, we do think that transparency, more transparency in what the police do is really important,” said task force member Sergio Acosta.

The policy recommends police shooting videos be made public within 60 days of an incident, but would allow for police to request a 30 day delay for further investigation.

“The key element is that there is going to be some clarity, some certainty with respect to the release of video tapes, audiotapes and police reports,” Acosta said.

But an attorney who took the city to court to force the release of the McDonald video says the policy doesn't do enough, soon enough.

“Sixty to 90 days is far too long to release videos like this when the law requires they be released in five to ten days and when other cities across the country are releasing videos in shorter periods of time,” said attorney Matt Topic with the Chicago law firm of Loevy and Loevy.

Seattle, for example, uses a YouTube channel to post videos within hours or days of an incident. A police-involved shooting that happened at 1:45 p.m. on December 6, 2015 was online 12 hours later.

Concerns about Chicago's policy is that it would still keep the public from getting a clear picture of what happened during shooting incidents for months.

“At the same sixty to ninety day period in which police can withhold the video, they can release whatever press releases they want, talking about whatever allegedly occurred during these events,” Topic said.

The recommendations have already gained the support of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, but still require city council approval. It calls for a review of the policy in a year to see if it is feasible to release the videos sooner.

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