The Libertarian Party of Maryland joined three other organizations in a letter in opposition to SB 970, a bill which would unnecessarily and inappropriately compromise the public accountability values of the Maryland Public Information Act by creating a dangerous categorical ban on the public release of some police body camera footage. Yesterday, the Judicial Proceedings Committee gave the bill an unfavorable report notwithstanding the House having passed the companion bill HB 767 on a 133-3 vote. We are hopeful that this will forestall passage of this legislation.
Below is a copy of the letter in opposition sent to the Judicial Proceedings Committee on behalf of the Libertarian Party of Maryland, the ACLU of Maryland, the League of Women Voters of Maryland, and CASA.
There is a balance to be struck between privacy interests and ensuring public accountability of police conduct. Body cameras have proven a useful tool to improve public accountability. The Maryland Public Information Act already provides a reasonable balance to protect body camera footage from violating the privacy of citizens. SB 970 would alter that balance and set a dangerous precedent that could further erode public transparency via the Maryland Public Information Act. We are grateful to the ACLU of MD’s leadership and tireless advocacy on this issue.