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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2013

    Default Can a Police Department Deny Public Access to Body Worn Camera Audio and Video

    Good evening,

    Not long ago my ex interfered with child custody. My ex withheld our child for close to 30 consecutive days. During that time, I went to the local police station in the town where my ex lives and asked the police to standby while I went to my ex’s home and attempted to regain custody of the child during my custodial time. I showed the police officer the court order stating I have sole legal custody and primary physical custody.

    The officer and I left the station and drove to my ex’s apartment. The officer asked me to wait outside while he went inside the building. About 10 minutes later the officer came outside without the child. The officer then told me to file a complaint with the family court.

    I did file with family court and my ex’s time with the child was reduced to supervised visitation. That has nothing to do with my question.

    I filed an OPRA request with the police department for ‘any and all video and reports regarding the incident’. I received a one page report with some basic details. My request for the Body Worn Camera was denied. The Records Custodian wrote on the OPRA request “Denied – Juvenile”.

    I filed a complaint with the NJ Government Records council regarding the denial wherein I stated I agreed to mediate. The town’s solicitor has agreed to mediate the issue as well.

    My understanding of the NJ OPRA law is that the burden of proof is on the record keeper to explain why denial is authorized.

    What types of arguments should I expect from the solicitor as to why they believe the body worn camera audio \ video should not be released?

    Thank you

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