OLYMPIA, Wash. -

The state Supreme Court has ruled that police dashboard cameras can't be withheld from public disclosure unless they relate to pending litigation.

Five of the high court's members said Thursday that the Seattle Police Department wrongly used a state statute as a blanket exemption to the state's public records act when it denied providing dashboard camera videos to a reporter with KOMO-TV. Their ruling overturns a 2012 King County Superior Court judge's ruling that said the department could withhold the videos for three years.

The majority awarded KOMO attorney fees and sent the case back to the lower court.

Four justices argued that the statute was clear that that the recordings should not be released to the public until completion of any criminal or civil litigation.