State lawmakers kill police body camera bill

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- State lawmakers killed a bill outlining how and when police body camera video can be released to the public.

That means it will be at least next year before state lawmakers move forward with a new version of it.

After hearing it from WREG, NAACP president Keith Norman jumped to the podium at the NAACP Freedom Fund Luncheon to announce a police body cams bill died in Nashville Tuesday.

"We're extremely disappointed that there's another delay to this magnitude," he said.

Attorney Ben Crump, who handled the Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida and the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, calls it a blow to all Tennesseans.

"Transparency is paramount if you want to have people accept that there's equal justice for every American citizen."

Republican Rep. Glen Casada proposed a one-year hold on the public release of body camera video last week.

A house subcommittee approved it, and the full committee heard it Tuesday.

But Casada changed the bill, taking out the moratorium giving police departments the right to withhold certain video for privacy reasons.

The committee decided to study the issue over the summer. There will be no vote this session.

"While we were all for not rushing to judgement and trying to get the policy right and not having to revisit it over and over again, this type of delay which would push it beyond the summer into next year puts us in a very precarious position," Norman said.

Memphis Police can still implement body cameras as they choose, but leaders like District Attorney General Amy Weirich have voiced concern over a full rollout before it is clear how that video will be handled.

"It's criminal to have these body cameras and not be using them, because what if something happened tomorrow?" Crump said.

The hope is to have a new bill drafted by January 1.

MPD previously said more body cameras would be rolled out April 1, this Friday.