By Alex Price
CLEAT Public Affairs
Last year CLEAT Staff Attorney Arianna Smith was given an unusual assignment by CLEAT Executive Director Charley Wilkison. Arianna was tasked with writing the brief to support CLEAT’s contention that officers have the right to view body camera footage before making a statement.
The assignment came after she had just finished working the legislative session in the Capitol last year with Wilkison and the CLEAT Public Affairs lobby team.
“Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton just issued this opinion on the requirement of cities allowing officers to view more than just their own body cams before being required to make a statement. Webster defines “required”, in part, to be an “essential need”. We can work with that when and if the issue comes up on the part that says “is required” to give a statement,” said Michael Rickman, CLEAT General Counsel.
Wilkison pointed to this opinion as a good first step because it sets a legal precedent. He says CLEAT will file cleanup language in the 2019 Legislative Session next year that will clarify the original intent of the law.
“Thanks to Attorney General Ken Paxton for this proper ruling that further protects officers rights from politically motivated District Attorneys and the overreach of police administrations under their influence,” said Charley Wilkison, CLEAT’s Executive Director.