A new bill, which would amend the Freedom of Information Act to make it easier for citizens to obtain video of officer-involved shootings, was introduced by state Rep. Arthur Turner (9th) on Dec. 4.
House Bill 4355 would force law enforcements agencies attempting to withhold FOIA-requested police dashboard-cam and body camera videos that show officer-involved shootings to prove that the video footage is exempted by the courts.
According to the Chicago Tribune, there “are nine FOIA exemptions, including releasing information that would interfere with an investigation, depriving a person of the right to a fair trial and endangering an individual’s life or physical well-being, among other reasons.”
The bill also requires “the court to conduct an expedited hearing on the applicability of the exemption asserted,” according to the text.
State Rep. David McSweeney (R-52nd), told the Tribune that simply “allowing a FOIA officer to decide is unacceptable […] Let’s let a judge make that determination. I’m a supporter of the police, but I think this is a necessary step in order to fully restore public confidence.”
The bipartisan bill was co-sponsored by West Side state Representatives La Shawn K. Ford (8th) and Camille Y. Lilly (78th). It currently sits in committee until the General Assembly reconvenes in January.