DC mayor defends charging for body camera footage

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser defended the city's practice of charging for police body camera footage on Thursday.

Bowser says the charges are in place to protect the privacy of the public as some of the video needs to be redacted.

Another elected official is challenging the mayor, however, saying the cost is unfair and sky high.

ANC Commissioner Denise Krepp was shocked to learn she would have to pay more than $5,000 to see redacted video of what has turned into a controversial stop and frisk by D.C. police.

The incident in question was recorded on Dec. 22, when three young boys were stopped and questioned by police.

Denise Krepp says that, as an elected official she should have the right to see it.

But the mayor says it has to be redacted, and that costs money.

"There are costs and the body worn camera program is in the aspects of who has access and how quickly they have access and we have to protect privacy of everybody involved we just can't release uncut footage it has to be looked at especially if it involves somebody who wasn't involved in the incident. I know it is hard to believe but we have to protect people from voyeurism and that's what we will do," the mayor said.

On Dec. 22, a bystander recorded video of the three young boys being questioned and patted down by officers.

According to a police report, a man told police the three had threatened him with a knife, and followed him into a CVS.

When police stopped the boys, they did not find a knife and the man who made the initial complaint declined to press charges.

The investigation went on for an hour, which meant as many as four hours of police body camera footage.

Krepp - at the urging of her constituents who were concerned that the boys were being questioned without their parents - wanted to know more about the stop, and wanted to see the footage.

She feels the fee should be waived at the very least, or that she should be able to see the footage as an elected official.

"I'm not a voyeur - again I'm an elected official and pursuant to the D.C. law, members of the D.C. council are allowed to see the unredacted version of the video why can't I--why am I any different from the dc council members--we are on the same ballot--why am I any different," Krepp said.

Krepp said she plans request the fee waiver, and then work other members of the ANC to change the law.

The First District Commander has agreed to address the issue of the stop and the body worn camera footage at a community meeting scheduled for a few days from now.