Seattle Police:Vanishing Videos

Number 25621
Subject Police
Source KOMO-TV (Seattle)
State Washington
Year 2012
Publication Date 1/4/12; 1/13/12; 1/17/12; 2/13/12; 2/14/12; 2/15/12; 3/13/12; 3/23/12; 4/12/12; 4/16/12; 8/15/12; 9/7/12; 9/14/12; 11/13/12; 11/21/12; 12/5/12
Summary This story began as a relatively simple venture; how to get copies of police dashboard camera videos to provide watchdog oversight of a police department facing growing criticism. It grew into a major expose of questionable police tactics and a battle for public access to critical public records that is currently before the state Supreme Court. Over the course of a year and a half, KOMO TV’s fight for videos and the video database became a game of strategy and attrition as the Seattle Police Department denied us access to public records at every opportunity. We tried every means at our disposal to get these records including direct appeals to elected officials. Finally, with no other recourse, KOMO TV sued the SPD and the city of Seattle. Only then did we make our fight for these records public. What followed in 2012 was a cascade of stories; people coming forward alleging police misconduct and an attempt to hide the videos that would tell the truth. In addition to KOMO TV’s public records lawsuit, our investigation has prompted state legislators and other open records advocates to pursue changes in state law to ensure these records can no longer stay hidden.
Category Contest Entry
Keywords police; camera videos; SPD; Seattle Police Department; public records
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