Controversial police body camera bill awaits House vote

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A bill at the state Capitol would allow police to review body camera video evidence before making a statement to investigators looking into accusations of police brutality. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) A bill at the state Capitol would allow police to review body camera video evidence before making a statement to investigators looking into accusations of police brutality. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Critics say Senate Bill 1253 gives law enforcement time to alter their stories before speaking to investigators and will ultimately breed mistrust with the public. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Critics say Senate Bill 1253 gives law enforcement time to alter their stories before speaking to investigators and will ultimately breed mistrust with the public. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Supporters say police should be given every opportunity to review the evidence against them before making a statement. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Supporters say police should be given every opportunity to review the evidence against them before making a statement. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Cell phone video has changed the public's perception of police brutality over the past several years.

And it's resulted in mounting pressure on police departments across the country to purchase and use body cameras to document police behavior while they're on the streets.

Now a bill at the state Capitol would allow police to review that video evidence before making a statement to investigators looking into accusations of police brutality.

[RELATED: Taser to offer new sensor that automatically turns on body camera]

Critics say Senate Bill 1253 gives law enforcement time to alter their stories before speaking to investigators and will ultimately breed mistrust with the public.

"This bill is going to hurt community trust. This bill should be killed," said Benjamin Taylor, a Phoenix, defense attorney.

Taylor says the average criminal suspect would not be given the opportunity to review all the evidence against them before making a statement to investigators.

He added that by giving officers access to this information, they could tailor their answers to the video and present their side of the story in a way that benefits them the best.

"This is going to hurt community trust, and the community's perception of corruption will be big," Taylor said.

[RELATED: ASU study: Body cameras improve relationship between Tempe police officers, public]

However, supporters of the bill say that is not the case.

Sen. Sonny Borrelli, a Republican from Lake Havasu City, says police should be given every opportunity to review the evidence against them before making a statement.

"They have a right just like anyone else to review all evidence against them," Borrelli said Tuesday.

Before making a statement, the measure stipulates officers must be read a statement saying, in part, "Video evidence has limitations and may depict events differently than you recall."

The bill passed the Senate and awaits a full vote in the House.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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Dennis WlechVeteran political reporter Dennis Welch is a well-respected political expert in Arizona.

Dennis Welch
Political Editor

Before making the move to television, Welch wrote and edited for the Arizona Guardian, a highly influential online news site dedicated to Arizona politics and government where he served as owner and editor. During his Guardian days, Welch was a frequent guest on “Politics Unplugged” and has been a regular fixture on the state political landscape since 2005 appearing on numerous radio and television talk shows. “I am thrilled to start working with such a talented and dedicated staff of journalists,” said Welch. “This is a great opportunity to broaden the reach of my political coverage and tell stories that affect Arizona voters and their families.” With more than 13 years of experience under his belt, Welch’s arrival only strengthens 3TV’s commitment to providing first-rate political and government coverage across all platforms. When not covering politics, Welch is an avid runner and fronts a punk rock band that plays frequently throughout the Southwest and California. Welch is a well-respected political expert in Arizona and his addition means 3TV will provide a stronger, more robust political presence in Arizona. He joins 3TV from the Arizona Guardian, a highly influential online news site dedicated to Arizona politics and government where he served as owner and editor. During his Guardian days, Welch was a frequent guest on “Politics Unplugged” and has been a regular fixture on the state political landscape since 2005 appearing on numerous radio and television talk shows. “I am thrilled to start working with such a talented and dedicated staff of journalists,” said Welch. “This is a great opportunity to broaden the reach of my political coverage and tell stories that affect Arizona voters and their families.” With more than 13 years of experience under his belt, Welch’s arrival only strengthens 3TV’s commitment to providing first-rate political and government coverage across all platforms. When not covering politics, Welch is an avid runner and fronts a punk rock band that plays frequently throughout the Southwest and California.

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