STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Huntsville Police Department won't release police body camera footage; after arrest goes viral on social media

A weekend arrest caught on camera has raised many concerns. The woman who recorded it said she questions the force us...

Posted: May 24, 2018 9:35 AM
Updated: May 24, 2018 9:35 AM

A weekend arrest caught on camera has raised many concerns. The woman who recorded it said she questions the force used by the Huntsville police officers to make the arrest.

The Huntsville Police Department released a statement saying the viral clip only shows 44 seconds of what happened during the arrest. They said body camera footage captured 8 minutes.

But they also said because it`s an active criminal investigation, they won`t release the video to the public. The man arrested was charged with public intoxication.

Longtime attorney Mark McDaniel said even after a case is closed, sometimes it can still be hard to get police body camera footage.

He said if the Huntsville Police Department wanted to release the eight minutes of video from the officers' body cameras they could.

"If something happened in our community, and they wanted to get out in front of it or something, they could. If they wanted to get it out there themselves, there`s nothing that precludes them from putting it out there," Attorney Mark McDaniel explained.

Under Alabama statute, McDaniel concludes the Huntsville Police Department does not have to release any evidence to the public, as it relates to a criminal case. That includes this arrest caught on video.

"Under the law in Alabama these are not public records, and they would be considered privileged communication. So bottom line is they would not be accessible to the public," McDaniel said.

In section 12-21-3.1 of Alabama code, law enforcement investigative reports, records, field notes, witness statements, and other investigative writings or recordings are privileged communications protected from disclosure.

There is a way to possibly get a copy. "The legislatures looks at disfavor with any judge doing it, but you can do it under extraordinary circumstance in a civil manner. Somebody could subpoena, but would have to get a court order," McDaniel said.

McDaniel said evidence like police body cameras can possibly be easier for the public to see after a case is over, but it can still be difficult.

"There could still be some arguments there, if there`s any possibility of civil action brought. There might be some ways they would still try hold on to it," McDaniel explained.

McDaniel said a lot of states have similar statutes to Alabama.

McDaniel said releasing information like police body camera footage could potentially make it harder to get a jury panel. He said the more information out there, the more likely it is a defense attorney would ask for a change of venue.

Since purchasing and deploying the body cameras in 2016, the Huntsville Police Department has refused to release any video captured by them to WHNT News 19.

West Lafayette
Broken Clouds
76° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 76°
Kokomo
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 69°
Rensselaer
Scattered Clouds
66° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 66°
Fowler
Scattered Clouds
66° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 66°
Williamsport
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 66°
Crawfordsville
Scattered Clouds
68° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 68°
Frankfort
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 67°
Delphi
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 71°
Monticello
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 71°
Logansport
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 68°
Warm-up again with increasing humidity & risk of storms.
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 75862

Reported Deaths: 3069
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion16088730
Lake7688278
Elkhart492685
Allen4002163
St. Joseph357883
Hamilton2829104
Vanderburgh202213
Hendricks1927108
Cass18029
Johnson1789119
Porter135539
Clark128749
Tippecanoe123811
Madison100665
LaPorte93130
Howard91365
Kosciusko86812
Bartholomew81747
Floyd80948
Marshall79323
Monroe76631
Delaware74552
Dubois70812
Vigo69911
Noble68829
Boone68746
Hancock68339
Jackson5965
Warrick58830
Shelby56527
LaGrange56310
Grant52930
Dearborn51228
Morgan49334
Clinton4444
Henry40620
Wayne38510
White37611
Montgomery35921
Lawrence35227
Harrison34823
Decatur34132
Putnam3128
Daviess27720
Miami2772
Scott27210
Jasper2552
Greene25434
Franklin24615
DeKalb2384
Gibson2314
Jennings22712
Steuben2133
Ripley2138
Carroll1962
Fayette1947
Perry18713
Posey1790
Starke1787
Wells1742
Orange17424
Fulton1722
Wabash1703
Jefferson1672
Knox1610
Whitley1556
Tipton14312
Washington1421
Sullivan1381
Spencer1373
Clay1245
Huntington1243
Randolph1244
Newton12010
Adams1092
Owen991
Jay920
Rush854
Pulaski811
Fountain742
Brown741
Blackford652
Ohio656
Benton640
Pike590
Vermillion580
Switzerland530
Parke511
Martin480
Crawford450
Union410
Warren241
Unassigned0206

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events