San Diego County law enforcement officials have announced a new countywide body-worn camera release protocol for officer-involved shooting videos, unifying for the first time the way agencies release those relevant videos.
Members of the San Diego County Police Chiefs' and Sheriff's Association made the announcement Wednesday at a news conference.
Starting Wednesday, the District Attorney's office will review and release body camera video from officer-involved shootings in a public manner, such as a news conference, with context.
"It is to show what happened, but in the context of what other evidence we have," said District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis.
Video evidence will not be released until the DA's office finishes their independent review of the incident and the findings have been given to the law enforcement agency involved. Criminal proceedings could also stall the release of the videos.
Dumanis said the office doesn't have a specific time frame for the release of the videos, though they will be adding more people to review cases to ensure the turn-around time is not as long.
"The default position will be to release OIS-related video evidence," a statement from the San Diego County Police Chiefs' and Sheriff's Association said.
Dumanis said any videos released will likely become public during the end of the criminal proceedings, though that release would vary with each case. "It depends," Dumanis said.
Dumanis said if they released the video right away following any incidents, it could change the narrative for members of the public.
When released, the faces of officers, witnesses and the person shot will be blurred out. Only certain portions of the video will be released, as well, Dumanis said. Only parts of the video "related to the DA's decision of whether or not a crime has been committed" will be released, according to a statement from the association.
The new policy, Dumanis said, "can aid the public in understanding how and why these incidents occur."
"I think the public will be very much happy with what we're about to disclose," Dumanis said.
Dumanis said her office on average reviews 18 officer-involved shooting incidents a year.