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I-Team: Huntsville police refuse to release body camera video

The department admits there’s body camera video, but the chances of you ever seeing it are slim to none.

Posted: May 22, 2018 6:15 PM
Updated: May 22, 2018 6:27 PM

An I-Team follow-up about secret police recordings you spent more than million dollars on.

Tuesday, the City of Huntsville said it will not release body camera video of a police officer repeatedly hitting a man during an arrest.

A witness posted video on Facebook, and it's been viewed more than 15,000 times.

The department admits there’s body camera video, but the chances of you ever seeing it are slim to none.

WAAY 31 went around Huntsville Tuesday, and showed people this video posted to Facebook.

Out of fear of retaliation, nobody who isn’t already involved in the story wanted to talk, but it’s an issue we asked the Mayor about before.

"The interesting thing is the public can trust everything that is being done because we record it. Having that body cam there, having the police video there record what actually happens, and when people come in with complaints against Huntsville police officers, they get to see the action that actually happened and they get to see what they said and they get to see what the police officers said," said Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle.

That's what Battle told WAAY 31 about body cameras the City of Huntsville bought for a million dollars of taxpayers money.

WAAY 31 obtained cellphone video recorded early Sunday morning by Heaven Cordule along University Boulevard. She told us the release of the police video could help police gain the public’s trust.

"I would like to see the Huntsville police department release the body cam video. We didn't see the entire incident so maybe the body cam would clear some things up," she said.

It’s a problem across Alabama. State law says officers do not need to release any recordings.

WAAY 31 asked for Huntsville's policy on body camera footage and nobody with the city or police responded to our request. We checked the City’s website and there’s nothing there either.

Earlier this month, this is what Mayor Tommy Battle has told us about the policy.

"The policy in place has 3 different people who have to approve it. The Chief has to approve it because it can't be part of a continuing investigation. The city attorney has to approve it because he has to double check it's not a part of a continuing investigation, then administration has to approve it. If you get all 3 of those check marks, then it's released," he said.

That could take up to five years. Cordule said she hopes it doesn't take that long.

"I'm not anti-police at all. I am against abuse of authority and like I said injustice. If that wasn't necessary that's what I'm against. I'm not against police officers," she said.

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