A large number of California law-enforcement agencies "are turning to public relations firms to produce slick and persuasive videos explaining police shootings, including some of the more controversial police killings in the wake of George Floyd's death," the San Jose Mercury-News reported today.
The newspaper reports the effort to seek outside video-production expertise is in response to a 2019 state transparency law. It also reports that "one firm run by former TV news reporters, Vacaville-based Critical Incident Videos LLC, has contracted with about 100 agencies up and down the state.
"The agency's résumé includes videos of several highly criticized deaths in recent years, including Sean Monterrosa in Vallejo, Steven Taylor in San Leandro and Joseph Perez in Fresno."
The recipe California officers follow to release police shooting videos www.youtube.com
The report continues:
"Police agencies argue that they are putting out the material to comply with Assembly Bill 748, the 2019 law requiring that body camera footage of police shootings and other significant force incidents be released within two months. But civil rights attorneys and families of people killed by police say the videos are a vehicle for law enforcement to create an early narrative and spin the story in their favor while keeping raw footage out of public view in violation of another state law.
"'This is not about free speech, this is not about getting the facts out to the public, this is about spinning it in the best possible PR for the police departments,'" said civil rights attorney Michael Haddad. 'The reason we know that is they deny the victims and their families access to this information and these videos so that the departments can get their story out to the public first.'"
You can read the full story here.