In July, the city of Hayward, CA police department was ordered to refund $3,246.67 charged to manually redact police body camera video. Hayward police officers were accused of using excessive force during a Black Lives Matter protest in December 2014 near the UC Berkeley campus. The National Lawyers Guild filed a lawsuit against Hayward. Hayward claimed redacting the 3 hours of police body camera video of the protest took 170 hours of staff effort, and billed the Guild $3,246.67.
The Alameda County judge agreed that agencies can charge for the cost of duplicating records and for compiling or extracting pieces of data, but ruled redacting video does not qualify as data extraction. The court decided that releasing body camera video is a matter of public interest, charging for redaction could eliminate the public’s right of access, and therefore ordered the refund. As a result, police departments have a powerful incentive to minimize the cost of redacting video.
Utility’s Smart Redaction™, included as part of the AVaiL Web Video Management solution, can redact video quickly and at low cost. As an example, Smart Redaction™ redacted 45 minutes of San Jose Police video in 6 minutes with minimal staff effort. Every police department needs Smart Redaction™ for their body-worn cameras.