Media Sues NYPD Over Cost of Accessing Body Cam Footage

Photo: Matt Rourke/AP

Photo: Matt Rourke/AP

An interesting debate has sprung up over just how much a police department should charge the media for access to police body/dash cam footage. A network in New York recently found out that the costs can be substantial.

NY1, a New York based news network and subsidiary of Time Warner Cable News, was recently billed $36,000 for over 190 hours of footage it had received from the NYPD through a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request. 

The network balked at the high cost and has filed a lawsuit against the police department, arguing that the cost makes it prohibitive for the public to access footage that is ostensibly meant to increase transparency.

The NYPD, however, begs to differ and has outlined the time and costs involved in reviewing and redacting the video footage prior to it’s public consumption.

Police officials stated that it took approximately one hour of review for every hour of footage, plus significant additional time in redacting and preparing the video, in order to release the video per the FOIL request. At a cost of $120 per hour to review and redact the material, the costs add up pretty quickly.

This discussion will no doubt become more and more heated as body/dash cam footage become even more ubiquitous.

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