[JURIST] The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Minnesota filed suit [complaint, PDF] in state court Tuesday against the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) seeking the release of footage [press release] from the police shooting of 24-year old Jamar Clark. Clark, an unarmed African-American male, was fatally shot by Minneapolis law enforcement in November. While the investigation into circumstances surrounding Clark's death is still active, the ACLU and the NAACP are demanding the release of several videos that show the shooting. The ACLU is alleging that the defendants in the suit are violating the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act [text], particularly section 13.82 (7) [text], which calls upon the court to weigh the benefits and harm that the release of data would pose to the public. The ACLU maintains that the video would greatly benefit the fractured relationship between the public and the police department. However, the DPS and BCA are using the same section to protect the videos as part of an active investigative effort into Clark's death.
Police use of force has been a controversial issue across the US recently. Earlier this month the US Department of Justice (DOJ) launched an investigation [JURIST report] of the San Francisco Police Department following the shooting of an unarmed African American. In December an Ohio grand jury decided not to indict [JURIST report] two officers involved in a 2014 shooting resulting in the death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice. Earlier that month the DOJ announced that it would be opening a full investigation [JURIST report] into the Chicago Police Department following the 2014 police shooting death of a black teenager. In September a Baltimore judge rejected motions [JURIST report] to drop charges against six police officers implicated in the case of Freddie Gray, a black man who was injured in police custody and later died.