Senate panel OKs bill to release police shooting videos

Image from police dashcam that appears to show Lt. Mark Tiller of the Seneca Police Department shooting and killing 19-year-old Zachary Hammond during an altercation on July 26, 2015.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – A Senate panel has approved a bill requiring dashboard camera video in police shootings to be released unless investigators can convince a judge to keep it from the public.

Even if the judge decides to keep it secret, the judge must give a reason it cannot be released and a time when it can be made public under the bill approved by a subcommittee Thursday.

Sen. Larry Martin is pushing the proposal after the State Law Enforcement Division refused for three months to release the video of a Seneca officer shooting and killing 19-year-old Zachary Hammond.

The Pickens Republican says the bill allows the public to keep law enforcement accountable.

The bill also allows law enforcement to keep private a victim’s final words before death on a 911 call.

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