WASHINGTON — A Seattle man was arrested in January during a demonstration to protest police violence. Though Michael Moynihan has yet to be charged, his arrest – captured on police body-camera recordings, along with his full name, address, phone number and birthdate – are public records.

His case, and others around the country, illustrate some unintended consequences of the growing use of police body cameras as a way of keeping officers honest about using force against civilians, and as a way of vindicating officers unfairly accused of brutality.

Some existing laws that govern what information is released to the public are on the chopping block, as states try to strike the balance between a citizen’s right to privacy and making officers answer for their actions.

A policy to release all police-recorded videos could mean footage of the inside of a person’s home or a hospital would be available. But if the policy is not to release footage in order to protect a person’s privacy, that could mean a video of an officer shooting someone would not be made public, defeating the main purpose of the use of these cameras.

And while the recordings may help get to the truth of an incident with police, they also record distraught victims, grieving family members, people suffering from mental illness and citizens exercising their rights to free speech and civil disobedience.

“What started as an effort to capture or prevent bad police behavior, I think now we’re starting to see the realities of it capturing true human suffering,” Frank Straub, chief of the Spokane, Washington, Police Department, said earlier this year at a policy forum on Capitol Hill.

Even Moynihan, who supports police wearing body cameras, acknowledges, “That’s a very dangerous weapon that they have there.”

The solution may be somewhere in the middle.

Some departments redact the faces of bystanders or those arrested, or blur a video so much that little is recognizable. Others won’t release video if it’s part of an ongoing investigation. Some policies allow officers to turn their cameras on and off. Even uncensored footage may not crystalize an incident because it’s taken from one officer’s physical position, often a moving one. This can create shaky footage and in some cases won’t capture all details of a violent encounter.

State laws vary about what the public can see. Existing recordings are covered under these laws, such as videos from cameras mounted inside patrol cars. But body cameras produce more footage than dashboard cameras – footage that can show officers inside peoples’ homes and other private places.

One thing that seems certain: Body cameras will only see more use.

President Obama supports using them, and his administration has pledged millions of dollars to local law enforcement departments. Dozens of agencies across the country are testing them, and many have plans to roll them out more broadly.

Yet something else seems certain: Body cameras have become an easy political answer to the complex problem of crumbling trust in police, and efforts to censor the footage open up other issues.

“Any policy that categorically shields or opens up body-camera footage is probably wrong,” said Jay Stanley, an analyst with the American Civil Liberties Union.