NY AG Letitia James Announces Body Camera Reforms Following Daniel Prude’s Death
Joshua Rashaad McFadden/Getty Images

On what would have been Daniel Prude’s 42 birthday, New York Attorney General Letitia James traveled to Rochester to announce a major change in the way body camera footage is handled. Namely, that her office will now be deciding when to publicly release the footage of police-involved deaths of civilians.

The new policy goes into effect immediately and with it, James has vowed to tell the public when her office is investigating a police-involved death of a civilian. Body camera footage will then be publicly released when the family of the victim has had a chance to view it, according to CNN.

“Up until now the release of footage has been up to the discretion of local authorities, but this process has caused confusion, delays, and has hampered transparency in a system that should be as open and available to the public as quickly as possible, publicizing the footage, as soon as we have shown it to the deceased family,” James said during Sunday’s press conference.

The family of Daniel Prude, visiting from Chicago and Florida, participate in a community celebration of life in Prude's memory on September 10, 2020, in Rochester, New York. There have been protests in Rochester since the family released bodycam footage of his arrest, which led to his subsequent death. Mayor Lovely Warren has announced the suspension of seven officers involved in the arrest and promises reforms to the city's police department.  (Photo by Joshua Rashaad McFadden/Getty Images)
The family of Daniel Prude, visiting from Chicago and Florida, participate in a community celebration of life in Prude’s memory on September 10, 2020, in Rochester, New York. There have been protests in Rochester since the family released body cam footage of his arrest, which led to his subsequent death. Mayor Lovely Warren has announced the suspension of seven officers involved in the arrest and promises reforms to the city’s police department. (Photo: Joshua Rashaad McFadden/Getty Images)

The attorney general did acknowledge that the exact timing of the release of footage will still depend on security and privacy laws and other privacy concerns, the report noted.

The announcement came after it was revealed that several documents, including internal e-mails and police reports, showed a deliberate effort on the part of Rochester city and police officials to delay the release of the body camera footage showing the death of Daniel Prude, who died from asphyxiation after police put a spit hood over his head.

Prude died on March 30. An attorney representing Prude’s brother filed a Freedom of Information Law request for the damning footage on April 3. The video never surfaced until August 12.

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