Hey, You Know Those Dash Cams We Said Would Bring Needed Transparency? You Can’t See ‘Em

SEATTLE - NOVEMBER 30:  A Seattle Police Depar...

SEATTLE - NOVEMBER 30: A Seattle Police Department spokesman Jeff Keppel addresses the media following a search for a suspect in the killing of four police officers November 30, 2009 in Seattle, Washington. Police are still searching for Maurice Clemmons, a suspect who allegedly shot and killed four police officers at a coffee shop November 29. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

KOMO, in Seattle, won a major victory — with an ironic twist, and one that will keep them waiting up to three years to see police dashboard cam videos. The irony? When they asked for millions of dollars to buy the cameras, openness was one of the major selling points…

The KOMO 4 Problem Solvers sued the Seattle Police Department for withholding dash-cam videos — videos that have proven to be damning, even incriminating, for the department.

A King County judge has fined the department for not giving KOMO 4 database information about the videos, but he still says Seattle police can withhold dash-cam video from the public for three years.

Those dash-cam videos can supply potentially critical evidence. They’re also public records.

That’s why KOMO sued the police department for not releasing the public records, which the media and the public has the right to see.

“The public should have access to these videos,” said KOMO attorney Judith Endejan.

KOMO reporter Tracy Vedder spent more than a year investigating the department and fighting for access to the police videos recorded on the dashboard of their patrol cars.

“These videos are clearly public record and the thing that’s ironic is when the system was purchased several years ago by the city, the police chief the mayor, they all touted the fact that we were spending several millions of dollars to improve public accountability,” Endejan said.

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