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New law requires Akron to release videos of use-of-force incidents within 7 days

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Posted at 11:42 AM, Jun 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-29 11:43:22-04

AKRON, Ohio — Akron City Council passed a law Monday that will require the city to release video footage that documents an Akron police officer’s use of deadly force or force that results in serious bodily injury within seven days of the incident.

The new law comes after the citizen-led Charter Review Commission last summer made several recommendations for changes to the city’s charter, with one of those recommendations involving mandating disclosure of certain use-of-force recordings.

Footage from the body-worn camera will be atomically posted to www.akroncops.org within seven days of the incident. The initial release will include at least three camera angles, assuming that multiple devices captured the incident. Any and all other footage would be released on the website within 30 days.

“This ordinance is the result of more than a year of community engagement, research, and preparation,” Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan said in a news release. “Akron is now a leader among peer cities across the country when it comes to public accountability in police use of force cases. This ordinance demonstrates our commitment to being open, transparent and—importantly—consistent.”

Videos of an entire use of force event will be made to the public, with “very limited exceptions.”

“Footage will only be redacted if mandated by law, including laws protecting the privacy of personal information like social security numbers or nudity, or if a court orders the City to withhold the footage,” said Senior Strategic Counsel Ellen Lander Nischt.

The ordinance allows that any member of the public can petition for the release of the footage if they believe the city failed to release it as required.

A petition can be filed by making a written request to the Director of Law by email to videodisclosure@akronohio.gov or by mail/personal delivery to the officers of the Civil Division of the Law Department, located at 161 South High Street, Suite 202, Akron, 44308.

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