Community groups in Jacksonville praise move to speed up release of police bodycam video

State Attorney Melissa Nelson issues new policy on body camera footage in police shootings

Many call the new policy from the state attorney's office, ground breaking.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Some community groups and social activists in Jacksonville say a move by the State Attorney’s Office to speed up the release of body camera footage in police shootings is groundbreaking.

“We are very happy to see that our vigilance and our efforts are starting to pay off, that the city is starting to listen,” said Ben Frazier of the Northside Coalition. “We will continue with our boots on the ground campaign in that regard.”

Others like Lauren Cepheus, vice president of the Black Commission — a local group working for policy change in the Black community — echoed that response. She even gives credit to State Attorney Melissa Nelson.

“While we still have some nuts and bolts to work through, I think that this is progress,” Cepheus said. “I’m going to give credence to Melissa Nelson. It seems that she really does want to try to come together and negotiate something.”

Joseph George of the Democratic Black Caucus of Duval County says he is optimistic that the city will start to see more police body camera video

“I really am (optimistic), especially with the pressure that is going on around the country,” George said. “Things are improving.”

RELATED: Nelson issues new policy on body camera footage in police shootings

News4Jax asked Sheriff Mike Williams if he has a timeline of when videos would be released. Williams says that would happen when the State Attorney’s Office gives them the go-ahead.

“As soon as their investigators determined and interviewed all the witnesses and no other eyewitnesses (are needed) to talk to in this case, as soon as (Nelson) tells me that, I will release the video,” Williams said. “So within 30 days, it will be released.”

The sheriff says this is evolving and there could be changes. The community groups say they will be meeting later this month with Nelson and others to see how this is working and to discuss other issues.

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Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.