More and more police officers in Louisiana are wearing body cameras. While body cameras do a great job of assisting the police by capturing evidence of people up to no good, they also occasionally capture the actions of police officers abusing their power and violating the rights of others. While one might think that the information gathered by the police in an investigation would be public information, records of prosecutive, investigative, and enforcement agencies in Louisiana are largely exempt from disclosure. Louisiana Revised Statue 44:3 states what law enforcement officers can withhold and permits police to withhold production of records pertaining to pending criminal litigation or any criminal investigation that can reasonably be anticipated.
Among the things that have to be made available are:
- (1) the initial report of the officer or officers investigating a complaint,
- (2) records of the booking of a person,
- (3) records of the issuance of a summons or citation, and
- (4) records of the filing of a bill of information.
The statute also provides that video or audio recordings generated by law enforcement officer body-worn cameras have to be produced unless they are found by the agency in custody of the video to violate an individual’s reasonable expectation of privacy.
If any agency in custody of the video refuses to produce the audio or video information based on what it claims is a violation of someone’s privacy, the party seeking production of the video can file a motion in court for a judge to determine if the audio or video files should be produced. A party that successfully obtains the information after filing a motion in court may also be able to recover its costs, attorney fees, and any other damages he or she can prove.
If you believe the police may have video evidence important to your case, call us today at (225) 963-9638 to schedule a consultation.