Gilroy Police Weighing Release Of Body Cam Footage From Festival Shooting

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Publication: KCBS Radio

Gilroy police are evaluating how and when they will comply with a state law that requires the department to release officers' body camera footage from Sunday’s deadly shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival.

Investigators said 19-year-old Santino Legan fired into the crowd at random, killing three people. Three officers who were patrolling the festival responded within one minute and engaged Legan who was shot and killed.

Under a new California police transparency law that went into effect this month, law enforcement agencies are required to release footage from any incident where a police officer seriously injures a person or fires a gun within 45 days, unless they can demonstrate that releasing the footage would hinder an investigation.

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“The video that we’ve released previously to California Public Records Act requests has required us to go through and redact uninvolved parties out. And quite frankly for a department of our size I don’t know how we’re going to do that yet," Smithee said. 

That echoes complaints raised by police unions and law enforcement agencies throughout California before the law went into effect, with many officials calling it an undue burden. But supporters – including the bill’s author San Francisco Assemblyman Phil Ting – say the bill is necessary to hold police accountable and increase transparency and trust.