Google restores Cook County court feeds to YouTube; ‘Sometimes we make mistakes’

Google made an oops.

After suddenly pulling the plug on dozens of Cook County courtroom feeds on YouTube last week, the tech giant reversed course on Tuesday, saying, “sometimes we make mistakes.”

Most of the court system’s feed pages were restored by Tuesday evening.

“Last Friday, Google disabled the accounts due to unspecified violations of unspecified YouTube Community Guidelines,” the office of Chief Judge Timothy Evans said in a statement Tuesday afternoon. “Earlier today, [we] received a notice from Google’s YouTube team confirming that the court’s channels do not violate the guidelines and acknowledging that
‘sometimes we make mistakes.'”

Evans launched YouTube access in the early days of the COVID pandemic to provide transparency and access while courtrooms were closed. Since then, the feeds, particularly the daily bail hearings for people newly accused of crimes, have grown in popularity and importance.

With YouTube, family and friends can monitor bail hearings for loved ones from home and then make plans to win their release before traveling to the courthouse and county jail complex in Little Village. Until the feeds were introduced in early 2020, concerned parties had to travel to court, where cellphones are banned, and sit through sometimes hours-long hearings to get the same information.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com