HPD is still working on it.
As the Houston Police Department begins rolling out body cameras among the rank and file, Chief Charles A. McClelland said the department is changing its policy governing how and when HPD releases videos collected by the devices.
“If we have a body camera video that’s an officer-involved shooting or complaint against one of our officers, if we have completed the administrative investigation, which looks for policy and procedure and training violations, and we have completed the criminal investigation, meaning the case went to the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, I’m going to release it,” McClelland said Thursday. “I’m not going to hold it in anticipation of civil litigation.”
The shift reflects the uncharted waters many departments find themselves in as they roll out the new devices and how law enforcement is responding to the scrutiny they have faced in the last year over how they use force against civilians.
McClelland said the department is still seeking guidance from the Office of the Attorney General about when the department could release videos – particularly when a grand jury declines to indict an officer involved in a shooting.
“We need to get some clarity on that,” he said, explaining that state law only allows for videos to be released after a shooting has been fully adjudicated. A no-bill is not necessarily a final adjudication, he said, adding that while the department would likely be releasing videos sooner, the entire process could still take six months to a year before they ended up being released.
See here, here, and here for the background. I laid out my general issues in that last link. We do need the legal questions clarified, but the underlying goal here has to be transparency. The point of the cameras is for everyone to feel that information they need is available to them.