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California Court docket Ruling on Police Drone Footage

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Tony Webster [CC BY-SA 4.0]

California Appellate Court docket’s Determination Impacts Public Entry to Police Drone Footage

by DRONELIFE Employees Author Ian J. McNabb

Final week, a California appellate court docket dominated that video footage from police drones collected in response to 911 calls will not be mechanically exempt from public document. The choice by the California Court docket of Attraction for the Fourth District got here in a response to a journalist’s try to realize entry to drone footage taken as a part of the Chula Vista Police Division’s “Drones as First Responders” program, the primary of its form within the nation.

After the journalist, Arturo Castañares of La Prensa, sued the division, the trial court docket dominated that Chula Vista police might withhold all footage as a result of the movies have been exempt from disclosure as legislation enforcement investigatory data underneath the California Public Information Act, resulting in an attraction.

The appellate court docket held that drone footage was not categorically exempt from public disclosure, as drones is perhaps used to reply to non-crime occasions that also warranted a 911 name (for instance, a mountain lion roaming a residential avenue). Once they despatched the choice again to trial court docket, they instructed that every particular person video must be examined as as to whether against the law really occurred, after which the movies may very well be launched to the general public following the CPRA on a case-to-case foundation.

This case serves to indicate the problem of integrating new applied sciences into current reporting mechanisms, requiring California police departments fascinated with DFR applications to type by means of their very own footage to make the video of non-criminal 911 responses publicly out there. Nonetheless, the choice was welcomed by many privateness advocates, who argued that the police drone footage must be topic to the purview of civilian oversight, like different data generated by legislation enforcement.

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Ian McNabb is a employees author primarily based in Boston, MA. His pursuits embody geopolitics, rising applied sciences, environmental sustainability, and Boston School sports activities.



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