Citizen attitudes towards the public release of police body-worn camera video footage

Academic Article


  • This study investigated citizen attitudes about the public release of police body-worn camera (BWC) video. We examined quantitative and qualitative survey data from a convenience sample of 535 citizens living in and around Birmingham, Alabama, USA. We found citizens’ attitudes ranged widely and were often contextualized based on the circumstances of the video and case. Race, gender, and police accountability concerns were significantly related to greater support for video release, with race being the strongest factor. Surveillance concerns were not significantly related to attitudes about video release. While numerous studies show that officers and citizens support the use of BWCs in policing, questions about the public release of video are still under debate. Very few studies have examined the issue of video release for the purposes of developing evidence-based policy that satisfies the interests of diverse groups and minimizes civil unrest following critical incidents. Further research is needed before clear recommendations can be made regarding optimum policies guiding BWC video release.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Todak N; Leban L; James L
  • Start Page

  • 1760
  • End Page

  • 1776
  • Volume

  • 22
  • Issue

  • 7