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Protestors gather as Salt Lake City officials announce new body camera policies

Posted at 9:55 PM, Oct 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-17 23:55:25-04

SALT LAKE CITY - Dozens protested a new policy that gives Salt Lake City Police 10 business days to release police body camera footage. Mayor Jackie Biskupski said this policy favors transparency, while others argue it does the opposite.

“We are going to reject this policy, it's not good enough. It's not good enough because ten days ten days is too long,” said Deborah Blake, organizer of Utah Against Police Brutality.

Dozens of protesters stood outside city hall asking for unedited police body camera footage to be released 24 hours after an incident.

“The reason we were asking for body camera is for accountability and transparency,” Blake said.

Salt Lake City leaders argued that the new policy announced Tuesday gives the community transparency.

“I believe this policy carefully balances the need for transparency, while providing due process for investigations,” said Mayor Biskupski.

The new policy states that, "10 business days after the Officer Involved Critical Incident, the Chief Administrative Officer will classify body worn camera recording as a public record, barring any unusual or unforeseen circumstances"

“This is something I think we all want. We want to be open and transparent,” said Chief Mike Brown of the Salt Lake City Police Department.

Others argue it does the opposite and describe the policy as a slap in the face.

“It's a slap towards the Salt Lake City community it's a slap towards the African American and black communities here in Utah,” said Stephen Michael Christian from Utah Against Police Brutality.

Utah Against Police Brutality argued that body camera footage is public record the second it's recorded.

“I met with the family of Patrick Harmon, it was heartbreaking for them to wait for this body cam footage for it to be released and for them to see their family member be murdered six week later is not OK. Ten days later is not OK,” Blake said.

After the rally the group filled into the Salt Lake City council chambers.

“We're hoping to put pressure and raise awareness at the city council meeting that they city council needs to step up and say no Jackie this is not a good policy,” Christian said.

Salt Lake City leaders say they are confident in the policy, and even say they hope other cities adopt it.