The city of Akron, Ohio, will require that video of any incident in which police use deadly force be posted on its website within seven days of the incident.
City officials said the law was in response to voters who overwhelmingly supported a proposal for such an ordinance, which passed with 88.8 percent of voters in favor, according to a news release from the City of Akron.
“The voters of Akron made it very clear when they came out to overwhelmingly support this charter amendment that they want an accurate understanding of what happens in these critical incidents,” Council President Margo Sommerville said.
“This new law prioritizes the interests of the citizens we all serve. While we hope that these incidents do not occur in our city, we can now be confident that — if they do — information and video will be released to the public quickly.”
According to the release, the law covers incidents when deadly force is used, regardless of outcome, or when serious bodily injury is caused.
The law requires the footage to be posted to the city’s website within seven days, and requires three camera angles to be posted, if they are available. Full footage of the incident is required to be posted within 30 days.
“This ordinance is the result of more than a year of community engagement, research, and preparation,” Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan said.
“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,” he said.
Ellen Lander Nischt, Akron press secretary and senior strategic counsel, praised the law for being ahead of the curve.
“It’s the first in Ohio and as far as we know, no one in the nation is doing this,” she said, according to WOIO-TV.
“It was clear that the community really backed this and we’ve had overall very positive feedback since then. Of course the course the conversation with the police department has been ongoing but they’re on board and ready to implement this.”
The law comes weeks after an Akron officer resigned when video released of incident over the winter showed him shoving snow into the face of a person who was on the ground.
The law makes provisions for redacting material that could violate privacy.
The law also has a vehicle by which citizens who believe an incident has taken place that should be made public can petition the city to have the video released.
When Akron police started using body cams in 2017,city said it would improve transparency & accountability..yet precious few videos were ever released to public — that’s about to change with mandatory release of videos involving use of force within 7 dayshttps://t.co/fmXgt6auZ7
— Amanda Garrett (@agarrettABJ) June 29, 2021
Akron’s Fraternal Order of Police has not commented publicly about the new law.
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