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New law in Akron requires police to release use of force videos on YouTube within 7 days of incident

City leaders say groundbreaking law is the first in the state and possibly the nation
Published: Jun. 29, 2021 at 7:29 PM EDT
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AKRON, Ohio (WOIO) - It will soon be the law.

Monday evening, Akron City Council voted unanimously to release video that documents an Akron police officer’s use of force that results in death or serious bodily injury within seven days of the incident.

Akron Press Secretary and Senior Strategic Counsel, Ellen Lander Nischt, Esq. said it’s groundbreaking.

“It’s the first in Ohio and as far as we know, no one in the nation is doing this,” she said.

City leaders told 19 News the law is the result of a citizen-led review commission created to increase transparency and accountability in policing. The group took the initiative to the voters and the amendment passed in November 2020 with almost 89% of local voters in support.

“It was clear that the community really backed this and we’ve had overall very positive feedback since then. Of course the course the conversation with the police department has been ongoing but they’re on board and ready to implement this,” said Lander Nischt.

Here’s how it will work: the initial release of footage will include at least three camera angles posted to the City’s YouTube channel for all to see within seven days. Any and all other footage will be released to the City’s website within thirty days.

City leaders said footage will only be redacted to protect privacy or personal information like social security numbers or nudity.

All over the country, there have been calls for transparency within policing. Supporters of this new law say it’s a step in that direction and they’re proud to lead by example.

“Of course, we do not want to see these incidents happen in Akron but if they do, now we know this footage is going to be released and released quickly so that citizens can see for themselves what’s happening in these situations,” said Lander Nischt.

The ordinance indicates that any member of the public can petition the City for the release of footage they believe the City failed to release as required. A petition can be filed by making a written request to the Director of Law by email to videodisclosure@akronohio.gov or by mail/personal delivery to the offices of the Civil Division of the Law Department at 161 South High Street, Suite 202, Akron OH 44308.

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