Police body-worn camera and dashboard camera footage and release policy
Office of Special Investigation
Pursuant to Executive Law Section 70-b, the New York State Attorney General investigates and, where warranted, prosecutes offenses in connection with deaths caused by police officers and certain peace officers, including corrections officers. These cases are handled by the Attorney General's Office of Special Investigation (OSI).
OSI's primary objective is to fairly and thoroughly investigate these incidents. It also seeks to provide transparency to the public and strengthen the public's trust in these matters.
To further increase transparency, Attorney General James issued a directive to release certain video materials to the public. This is footage from body-worn and dashboard cameras obtained in the course of an OSI investigation into a matter over which OSI has jurisdiction.
Release policy for video from police body-worn and dashboard cameras
- OSI will release body-worn camera and dashboard camera footage obtained during an investigation, over which we have jurisdiction, in a timely manner, when permissible by law. OSI will not wait until the completion of an investigation to release the footage.
- The footage may be redacted or withheld, as appropriate, to do the following and other actions:
- Ensure privacy (interiors of residences or other private spaces, location of domestic-violence programs or shelters, intimate images, images of an individual receiving medical attention, images of documents containing personal identifying information)
- Comply with federal, state, or local laws
- Protect confidential sources or witnesses
- Protect a person's right to a fair trial
- Protect the identities of victims of sex crimes and domestic violence
- Protect the privacy, life or safety of any person
- Avoid undue trauma due to explicit or graphic content
- Protect the identities of minors
- Before releasing any camera footage, OSI will give at least 24 hours' notice, when possible, to the following parties:
- A known family member or next of kin of the deceased
- Legal counsel for the family or next of kin
- The police department involved in the incident
- Any other known entities investigating the incident
The release of this footage is not an expression of any opinion as to the guilt or innocence of any party in a criminal matter, or any opinion as to how or whether any individual may be charged with a crime.