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BWC Citizen Viewing Process: FAQs

MPD and Body-Worn Cameras
According to DC Law, the Metropolitan Police Department shall schedule a time for any subject of a Body-Worn Camera (BWC) recording to view that recording, provided no other individual is identifiable using information included in the footage. The subject, his or her legal representative, and the subjects’ parent or legal guardian (if the subject is a minor), may view the BWC recording at the police station in the police district where the incident occurred. The video may only be viewed at an MPD location; copies of the video will not be provided to the requester.

If a request to review Body-Worn Camera video footage is denied; an individual may submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for additional information or a redacted version of the video.

The recording must have occurred at least 48 hours ago (to ensure the video is uploaded into the MPD storage database).
 

BWC Citizen Viewing Process: FAQs

Who may view the footage?

  • Subject of the recording
  • Subject’s parent or legal guardian if the subject is a minor
  • Any other person, if he or she is ACCOMPANIED by the subject of the recording during the viewing

What types of BWC video footage may be requested for viewing?
There are two scenarios in which a citizen may request to view footage of a BWC video:

  1. It is an interaction with an MPD officer that results in an allegation of non-criminal misconduct (ex. rudeness, unprofessionalism, etc.), OR
  2. The incident is non-criminal in nature

The individual requesting to view the video must be the subject of the video. Furthermore, the subject of the video must be present at the time of viewing. No person shall make a copy of the BWC recording including by using recording devices such as cameras, cellphones, tablets, etc.

For more information, please review the complete Body-Worn Camera Program Regulations Amendment Act of 2015

How do I show I am the parent or legal guardian of a minor subject?
In order to establish your eligibility to view the requested recording, MPD will need to establish your identity and/or relationship to the subject of the recording. The following documents are required to establish the identity of:

  • Parent
    • Valid government-issued photographic identification (e.g., a driver's license, passport, U.S. Permanent Resident Card or military identification); AND
    • Birth certificate of the subject
       
  • Legal Guardian
    • Valid government-issued photographic identification (e.g., a driver's license, passport, U.S. Permanent Resident Card or military identification); AND
    • Certificate of legal guardianship of the subject

How do I watch the recording?
In order to get approval to view a BWC video, you will need to submit a request online or in person at the police station where the incident occurred (it must be the police station located in the district where the incident occurred). After the request is approved, MPD will contact you to set up a time to view the recording. You will view the recording in the police station where the incident occurred. Photo identification will be required to prove you are the subject of the recording.

Why am I being denied access to BWC video that includes footage of me?
Under the law MPD may only show the recording through this process if access would not violate the individual privacy rights of any other subject.

Is there any other way to view the footage?
Yes. Please request the recording through the Freedom of Information Office.This office will review the video to determine whether appropriate redactions can be made to the footage in order to allow it to be viewed or shared.

May I get a copy of the recording?
No. If you would like a copy please request one through the Freedom of Information Office. Individuals permitted to view BWC footage at a police station MAY NOT record the video using a phone, tablet or any other recording device.

May I view clips of the recording?
Yes. If a subject appears for more than 30 seconds, without others nearby, then MPD will show clips of the recording to the subject.

May an Insurance Company representative view recordings of auto accidents?
No. The only people who may view the footage are:

  • Subject of the recording
  • Subject’s parent or legal guardian if the subject is a minor

Where do I watch the recording?
Body-Worn Camera footage viewing will take place at the police station where the incident occurred. A representative from the MPD will contact you to schedule a date and time for the viewing.