SAN JOSE (KPIX) – A police reform arising from the George Floyd protests was enacted by the San Jose City Council on Tuesday. The council voted unanimously to give itself the power to release body cam video. Previously, that decision was made by the Police Chief.

“For the most part no video was getting released,” said Mayor Sam Liccardo, who backed the measure.

It took four months for the San Jose Police Department to release footage from officer’s body worn cameras during the George Floyd protests that took place in late May and Early June. The images could be used to hold police accountable or prosecute violent protesters.

The council’s action will pertain to cases of “extraordinary public interest.”

“We recognize the need here in San Jose and I think the police chief agreed, that we’ve got to
get this video out on the street when there is a real controversy, and the public is concerned,” Liccardo said.

Under the new policy, the release police body worn video could come down to a city council vote.

“This is going to become a political issue,” said Shaunn Cartwright, who police shot with a rubber bullet in the leg with a rubber bullet while she acting as a legal observer during the protests.

“If we find that actions are inappropriate, we need to know that as soon as possible, rather than six months, a year or never down the line because we never saw that video,” Cartwright said.

It’s one of the first police reforms arising out of this year’s protests in San Jose. More will follow under the just-passed Measure G, which gives the Independent Police Auditor greater powers to investigate police involved shootings and brutality cases.

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