Chicago Agency Scraps Plan To Take Police-Shooting Videos Offline | WBEZ
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Chicago Agency Scraps Plan To Take Police-Shooting Videos Offline

A Chicago agency says it is scrapping a plan to end internet access to hundreds of video clips about serious police incidents such as shootings by cops and deaths in custody.

The videos, along with audio recordings and police reports about the incidents, are on an Independent Police Review Authority web portal unveiled June 3 by Sharon Fairley, the agency’s chief administrator.

“We are hopeful that implementing this new policy will take the city a step closer to building a police-accountability system that cultivates trust from the community,” Fairley said at the time.

In the portal’s first three months online, videos there were viewed 1.6 million times, according to a report by Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office.

IPRA’s written plan was for each incident’s records to be “expired” after six months on the portal. Under that plan the agency would have removed its first batch of records, including more than 300 video clips, from the portal as soon as Saturday.

Emanuel’s police-accountability task force had recommended the portal but not any expiration.

“What we want to avoid is people having to spend time and resources and money and lawyer time to compel disclosure of information that is relevant to the public,” Police Board President Lori Lightfoot, who chaired the task force, told WBEZ this week.

Asked about the expiration plan, an IPRA spokeswoman on Friday said the agency would leave the material online indefinitely.

Chip Mitchell reports out of WBEZ’s West Side studio. Follow him at @ChipMitchell1.

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