A Mobile County Circuit Judge has ruled, yet again, in favor of transparency.
Tuesday, January 30, a judge granted a trial in FOX10 News' lawsuit against the City of Mobile, seeking the release of police body camera video showing a controversial officer-involved incident.
The decision comes after the city attempted to have the lawsuit dismissed.
FOX10 News filed the lawsuit after city leaders blocked requests for a copy of body camera video detailing a controversial officer-involved incident in 2016, when a group of McGill students were pepper-sprayed by an officer at the Loop in midtown Mobile, and the police chief apologized for what happened.
FOX10's suit against the city seeks for the officer's body cam video of that incident to be made public, so the taxpayers would have the opportunity to see exactly how the officer behaved.
The judge indicated in Tuesday's ruling that FOX10 News' arguments have enough merit for the case to go to trial.
Right now, the issue of publicizing body camera video is one facing local governments nationwide.
However, more and more police departments are beginning to release video to the public, to encourage transparency.
While visiting Mobile earlier this month, Tuscaloosa Mayor Walter Maddox spoke openly about it.
"We want to get that video out there in a timely fashion, because if we've done something wrong, we're going to own it, and we are going to work to improve it," said Mayor Maddox.
Even Baldwin County Sheriff Huey "Hoss" Mack released body camera video a couple of months ago, saying he's willing to release it no matter if his deputies are in the wrong or in the right, as long as the investigation into the incident in question is complete.
"It's an accountability issue, that I think law enforcement needs to look at and deal with," said Sheriff Mack.
The trial for FOX10 News' lawsuit has been set for March 7.
At that trial, Judge Stout could decide if the city must release the body cam video FOX10 News has been seeking.
FOX10 News will keep you updated as the case moves forward.
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