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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Senate Rules approves concealing photos, videos of killings from public



A proposal (SB 416) that would exempt photos, videos and audio recordings of killings from Florida's public records law passed its third committee Tuesday, readying it for a full vote on the Senate floor. 

Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Ft. Lauderdale, and Rep. Rachel Burgin, R-Riverview, created the bill with the shooting deaths of Tampa police officers Jeffrey Kocab and David Curtis in mind. Their deaths were captured on Curtis' dashboard camera, the video of which was recently shown to a group of Tampa Bay reporters. The reporters could only describe the video, not air it.

Bogdanoff has said she wants to protect the privacy of victims' families. The bill would give access to such recordings or photos only to immediate family members of the dead, unless a court rules otherwise.

“The goal is not to have the family replay this every night on Channel 7 news,” Bogdanoff had said at an earlier April meeting.

The First Amendment Foundation is against the idea. So is U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson. Security camera video of the brutal murder of Martin Lee Anderson, a 14-year-old who died at the hands of security guards at a juvenile boot camp, led state lawmakers to shut down those boot camps in 2006.

Florida's public records law allowed media outlets to broadcast video related to his death, and the Legislature implemented change. This bill could strip that oversight by limiting public access to the recordings, opponents warn.

There was no discussion by members of the Senate Rules Committee on Tuesday. It passed unanimously.

[Last modified: Tuesday, April 26, 2011 1:37pm]


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