Police Body-Worn Camera and Dashboard Camera Footage and Release Policy

Pursuant to Executive Order No. 147, the New York State Attorney General serves as special prosecutor in incidents where a law enforcement officer causes the death of an unarmed civilian, or where there is a significant question as to whether the civilian was armed and dangerous. These cases are handled by the Attorney General's Special Investigations and Prosecutions Unit (SIPU).

While SIPU's primary objective is to fairly and thoroughly investigate these incidents, it also seeks to provide transparency to the public and to strengthen the public's trust in these matters.

As detailed below, to further increase transparency, Attorney General James issued a directive that body-worn camera and dashboard camera footage obtained in the course of a SIPU investigation into a matter over which SIPU has jurisdiction will be released to the public.

Police Body-Worn and Dashboard Camera Video Release Policy

  1. SIPU 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.  SIPU will not wait until the completion of an investigation to release the footage.
  2. The footage may be redacted or withheld, as appropriate, to, among other things:
    1. 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);
    2. Comply with federal, state, or local laws;
    3. Protect confidential sources or witnesses;
    4. Protect a person's right to a fair trial;
    5. Protect the identities of victims of sex crimes and domestic violence;
    6. Protect the privacy, life or safety of any person;
    7. Avoid undue trauma due to explicit or graphic content; and
    8. Protect the identities of minors.
  3. Prior to releasing any camera footage, SIPU will give at least 24 hours' notice, when possible, to the following parties:
    1. A known family member or next of kin of the deceased;
    2. Legal counsel for the family or next of kin;
    3. The police department that is involved in the incident; and/or
    4. 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.