MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Police Association (MPA) has filed a lawsuit against the city after the Fire and Police Commission (FPC) implemented a new policy that requires body camera footage to be released to the public in 15 days and to next of kin within 48 hours.
According to a press release, the MPA believes the FPC is overstepping its authority as an oversight board by implementing this policy. The association also called the decision “reckless.”
“We believe the FPC is acting as a governing body by demanding certain standard operating procedures on the department,” said Andrew Wagner, MPA President. “The FPC failed to negotiate with the union, which they are bound by contract to do. The department knows this, we put the FPC on notice of this and they refused to do that.”
Wagner also stressed to WTMJ that releasing body camera footage to next of kin within 48 hours will put officers and investigators at risk.
“They are going to have to edit out all footage that identifies any victims,” said Wagner. “So, I see laws conflicting with this 48 hour requirement. I think of open record requirements and Marsy’s law. I just don’t think it’s a practical requirement and I think it’s going to come into some legal problems later on.”
The Fire and Police Commission would not comment on the lawsuit, citing ongoing litigation.
The new policies, voted in Thursday, will take effect May 1.
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