Washington State Supreme Court Hears KOMO Case on Police Dashcam Videos


By Merrill Knox Comment

A legal battle between KOMO and the Seattle Police Department over access to police dashcam videos has reached the Washington State Supreme Court. The Seattle ABC affiliate reported on the case Tuesday:

The arguments before the Supreme Court are the last step in a years-long effort by KOMO to use police videos as a means of checking officer behavior. KOMO first requested a database and copies of Seattle police dashcam videos in 2010 during a Problem Solvers investigation about excessive force and biased policing.

In spite of numerous requests, the department told KOMO that the video records — the way the station asked for them — didn’t exist. After more than a year, the city did provide KOMO with a database, but then refused to supply the dashcam videos, saying there was a three-year exemption under the law.

“This is about every single citizen in the state of Washington and their right to have access to the videos that the police have, and their right to hold police accountable,” [KOMO news director Holly] Gauntt said.

KOMO reports the Supreme Court bypassed the appeals court and took the case directly, which can be done when the court believes there is “substantial public importance.” A decision is expected in three to six months.

Watch KOMO’s report after the jump.