Police-Worn Body Camera Data
Classification and Retention
- Body cam data are generally private/nonpublic, except when the data are active criminal investigative data. (§ 13.825, subd. 2(a)(3))
- Active criminal investigative body cam data are confidential/protected nonpublic. (§ 13.825, subd. 2(a)(3); § 13.82, subd. 7)
- Body cam data presented as evidence in court are public (§ 13.82, subd. 7; Advisory Opinion 22-003)
- Body cam data that are not active or inactive criminal investigative data must be retained for at least 90 days. (§ 13.825, subd. 3)
- After an investigation is complete, body cam data are public if they document an incident where an officer discharges a weapon in the course of duty (not including training or killing an animal) and the data must be retained for at least one year. (§ 13.825, subd. 2, 3)
- After an investigation is complete, body cam data are public if the recording documents the use of force by a peace officer that results in substantial bodily harm and the data must be retained for at least one year. (§ 13.825, subd. 2, 3)
- Body cam data that are public personnel data under § 13.43, subd. 2 remain public. (§ 13.825, subd. 2(a)(4))
- Whether law enforcement used a body cam (or any portable recording system) is public in the context of arrest data (§ 13.82, subd. 2) and response or incident data. (§ 13.82, subd. 6)
Body Cam Data Subjects
- Subjects of the data (i.e. the person(s) recorded in the footage), including peace officers, have access to private/nonpublic data and may request to have the data made public. (§ 13.825, subd. 2(a)(2))
- When a data subject requests that private data be made public, law enforcement must redact identities of non-consenting data subjects and undercover officers. (§ 13.825, subd. 2(a)(2); subd. 4)
Section 13.825 limits the sharing of not public body cam data between law enforcement agencies (§ 13.825, subd. 8) and requires agencies that use body cams to arrange for an independent, biennial audit to ensure compliance (§ 13.825, subd. 9).
Law enforcement agencies may release any not public body cam data to any person, agency, or the public if the law enforcement agency determines that releasing the data would aid law enforcement, promote public safety, or dispel rumor or unrest. (§ 13.82, subd. 15)
Section 626.8473 requires a law enforcement agency to allow for public comment and to create written policies and procedures before it purchases body cams or implements a body cam program. Such policies and procedures must be in place by January 15, 2017.
Law enforcement agencies that use body-worn cameras are required to conduct biennial independent audits of the data to determine whether data are appropriately classified according to this section, how the data are used, and whether the data are destroyed as required under this section, and to verify compliance with the law. Law enforcement must forward a report summarizing the results of the audit to the governing body within the jurisdiction and to the Legislative Commission on Data Practices and Personal Data Privacy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do the same classifications and requirements in Minn. Statutes section 13.825 apply to other video that law enforcement agencies may maintain, such as squad camera video?
No. Section 13.825 applies only to data recorded by a "portable recording system," defined as: "a device worn by a peace officer that is capable of both video and audio recording of the officer's activities and interactions with others or collecting digital multimedia evidence as part of an investigation." Other video data maintained by law enforcement will be classified by Minn. Statutes section 13.82, unless the video is from a drone, which is classified by section 696.19.
The law states that the identity and activities of an on-duty officer engaged in law enforcement activities may not be redacted from a body cam video. Does this include undercover officers?
No. The law specifically states that undercover officers must be redacted in any body cam videos provided to a data subject or the public. (Minnesota Statutes section 13.825, subd. 4(b) and subd. 2(a)(2))
Can I have access to a body cam video where I appear in the video?
When an investigation is inactive, an individual whose image or voice appears in a body cam video is a data subject and can inspect (i.e., view) the unredacted data, including access to other individuals and peace officers who appear in the data with the requester.
Data subjects can also request a copy of body cam footage where they are seen or heard. They are entitled to the data where they are a data subject, with other subjects except on-duty peace officers redacted. Data subjects can also request that a video be made accessible to the public, as long as other data subjects (not including on-duty peace officers engaged in an investigation or response) give consent or are redacted from the video.
A law enforcement agency must always redact undercover officers before providing data subjects with a copy of their body camera data.
If the body camera data are part of an active criminal investigation, data subjects may not access the data until the investigation is inactive.
A law enforcement agency received a data request for a copy of a body camera video from a data subject who appears in only a small portion of a longer recording. Does the agency need to provide the full video with applicable redactions, or can they provide only the portions where the subject appears?
A law enforcement agency should only provide the data subject with the portions of the footage where the subject can be seen or heard. Minnesota Statutes section 13.825 classifies data, and not full videos. Most inactive body cam data are classified as private, and individuals are permitted to access private data about themselves. As a result, only the data in the video that have the image or voice of the individual are private data on the subject and available to them, not the full video.
Can a law enforcement agency share body cam data with another law enforcement office?
Under Minnesota Statutes section 13.825, subdivision 8, a law enforcement agency may share body camera data with another state or local law enforcement agency, if the sharing follows the agency's internal written procedures for data access, required under 13.825 subdivision 7.
These written procedures must ensure that access to private body cam data is authorized in writing, and that sharing is for a legitimate, specified law enforcement purpose.