In Georgia, retention of police video footage is governed by O.C.G.A. § 50-18-96. Access is governed by O.C.G.A. § 50-18-70 et seq.
How to File
Most law enforcement websites in Georgia have a portal for requests, or an email address for public records requests
Request footage within 180 days of event (footage can be deleted at that point)
Footage always available if it's part of an initial arrest or incident report
Agency can charge a reasonable fee for the search, retrieval, redaction, and production or copying costs for the production of records, using the most economical means reasonably calculated. In other words, the lowest paid employee who can do the job must do the job.
In addition to those fees, the agency can charge an additional $10 for body cam or dash cam footage
Agency has no duty to redact and isn't liable if they don't redact
The agency has up to three business days to respond. If you agree to an extension, get it in writing!
If they deny your request or if you think the fees are unreasonable, you can appeal. You can also appeal the request as "deemed denied" if you don't hear back from the agency at all.
How to Appeal
Appeal to the Superior Court in the County where the event occurred.
File and serve a verified complaint against the custodian of the records (name the agency and the person)
Include copies of all correspondence
Ask the Court to enjoin the agency to provide you with the footage
If you are on deadline, request an immediate injunction and ask for an emergency hearing
Georgia's Open Records Act statute has no specific time limit for filing an appeal.
This blog is not intended to be legal advice, as the analysis might change depending upon your specific situation. For additional assistance, reach out to Joy Ramsingh, at email@example.com. Joy Ramsingh is an open records, open meetings, appellate advocacy lawyer and the founder of Ramsingh Legal.