What is your video liability? - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

What is your video liability?

Greg Edwards, Dougherty District Attorney Greg Edwards, Dougherty District Attorney
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Albany police are still trying to figure out who shot a viral video showing a 17-month old being shoved to the ground. Could that person be charged with child cruelty or even failure to report child abuse?

Child Abuse cases are different. Some people are required to report suspected child abuse, but the district attorney hopes you'll report any crime you see or record.

Once you hit the record button you never know what footage it could capture, but if it captures an act like the staged fight where a 17 month old is shoved to the ground, then what should you do?

"We have to rely on each other to be reporters of crime and to be witnesses of crimes and certainly by doing this you make yourself and everyone else safe,” said Greg Edwards, Dougherty District Attorney.

Edwards says under Georgia law there are certain people, such as doctors, school teachers and law enforcement officers who are required to report any acts of physical or sexual abuse against a child.

"A mandated reporter is a person under Georgia law who must report issues of child abuse,” said Edwards.

Not reporting the offense can leave them in trouble.

"It is a misdemeanor offense to fail to report an instance of child abuse that has been observed by a mandated reporter," said Edwards.

Questions remain about whether the video is really an act of child abuse and whether the person behind the camera is guilty of any crime.

"The person who shot the video, the issue would be whether or not they are a mandated reporter or not once that it is determine whoever shot the video,” said Edwards.

Edwards says citizens are not required to report other types of crimes, but it is in the best interest of everyone if they do.

"We hope that just as a general notion people who observe crimes will be responsible to both themselves and the community enough to report crimes and help make everybody safe,” said Edwards.

Edwards says if you shoot video of a crime, it could be used as evidence in court, and you could be called to testify in a trial.

It is against the law to falsely report a crime that has not been committed. The law also protects mandated reporters from being sued or prosecuted if they report something that turns out not to be child abuse.

Copyright 2014 WALB. All rights reserved.

 

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