Today, Senator Anthony Bucco (R-25) introduced a bill to protect New Jerseyans from bad-faith OPRA requests involving young individuals who are subjects of body-worn camera (BWC) footage under certain circumstances.
“Body-worn cameras have revolutionized police transparency but unfortunately, there are some bad actors who have abused the OPRA system to exploit young individuals in an effort to benefit financially,” said Sen. Bucco. “Footage from body-worn cameras, and OPRA requests as a whole, have a legitimate public interest and should be widely available for their intended use, not for YouTubers to get clicks.”
Bad actors have been taking advantage of the State’s open public records law to exploit young women on social media who have been recorded on body worn cameras during law enforcement encounters. The bill’s intent is to prevent such exploitation without limiting legitimate access to public records by the press or others.
Under the provisions of S4261, a person who has obtained a body worn camera recording pursuant to the open public records act and who is not a subject of the body worn camera recording is prohibited from disclosing the recording without the prior written consent of each subject of the body worn camera recording, unless the disclosure is for a legitimate public health or safety purpose, or for a compelling public interest.
You can read the full bill text here.