A Future In Which Every Police Officer Wears A Body Cam Isn't Entirely Rosy
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When the Daytona Beach Police Department first got body cameras, it only had enough for about half of its officers. Police Chief Mike Chitwood decided the first officers to strap them on "Anabolika Definition" should be those with a history of citizen complaints. Two years later, the resulting video has both exonerated and doomed officers accused of excessive force. In a case that made national news, video from the shooting of ex NFL player Jermaine Green was crucial after family members said Green was shot while laying in bed which sounds pretty bad. The statement was true but the video added context. It showed officers arriving at the house after being called about a domestic disturbance, and forcing Comprar Gh Jintropin their way into the home after hearing screaming inside. They see Green in a hallway holding a knife to his girlfriend's throat and follow him into the bedroom where he is on the bed still holding and threatening the woman, and refusing to put the knife down. The police 4-chlorodehydromethyltestosteron officers shot him multiple times, with one bullet hitting the woman in the arm. "When there's video, no one has to take your word for what happened," says Donald Ringer, the systems administrator for the Daytona Beach Police Department. He says video has resulted in the dismissal of complaints about officers hundreds of times.
But it goes both ways; video or the lack of it can also damn officers. Two on the Daytona Beach force lost their jobs after a video mysteriously blanked out in the middle of an encounter with a woman who allegedly hid a bag of cocaine in her mouth; she said the officers knocked her down, shoved a flashlight between her lips and kicked her in the head, but that part of the encounter wasn't caught on film thanks to one officer failing to turn his camera on and a "malfunction" with the other officer's camera midway through the arrest. A forensic analysis of the cam showed that the "malfunction" was caused by the officer shutting it down. Chief Chitwood has said the policy there is, "If you turn it off, you're done."
There's been a steady push for police departments to make body cameras part of their uniforms for the last few years, but the movement was galvanized this summer by the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Many believed video documentation of the moments that led to an officer shooting the unarmed 18 year old would have kept riots from exploding there, offering the panacea that is transparency. Body camera makers, including Seattle based Vievu and Arizona based Taser (which doesn't just make weapons anymore), say interest in their products spiked after Ferguson.
It's hard to find someone who doesn't think that all of the country's nearly 800,000 officers should be wearing cams, but there are plenty of questions about what the policy should be once those cameras are part of the police uniform. When do they need to be on? What if an informant doesn't want to be videoed? Who gets access to the videos of the often fraught encounters between police and citizens? In San Diego, local media can't get their hands on two videos of newsworthy incidents. "Can you imagine if there was video of the Michael Brown shooting and they refused to release it?" says Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst at the ACLU.
Even when disturbing video is captured and publicized, such as the shooting of a deranged, homeless man in Albuquerque, which appeared needless in video from police body cams, justice is not assured.
Transparency is a weapon, and like any weapon, it can be misused. Police body cam videos can become another way to embarrass and intimidate citizens police interact with. Disturbing outtakes from Cop Candid Camera get out too easily in some places. People are often at their worst when interacting with officers, whether they're belligerent or vulnerable. A cop cam video released last month featured a woman in Arizona pulled over for a DUI drunkenly trying to frame an officer for inappropriately touching her to get out of the offense. "It's all on video, ma'am," the officer responds. The unredacted video went viral, along with the woman's name. Vievu's YouTube channel features a number of incidents caught by its law enforcement customers' body cams, including an officer stopping a young man who admits there's marijuana in his car. The man's face is fully exposed in the video while the officer, behind the camera, remains but a faceless voice. One of the pot carrying driver's worst and most intimidating life experiences is now marketing material for Vievu.
Videos are often released without redacting the face of the person an officer interacted with, though officers remain faceless behind the camera
"There are complications with state open record laws," says the ACLU's Stanley. "We don't want to see those weakened in any way but some video shouldn't end up on YouTube, like a woman taking off her shirt."
The ACLU generally takes a pessimistic view of the spread of surveillance cameras across America, but it's in favor of body cams for law enforcement "as a check against the abuse of power by police officers." Police officers historically resisted cameras, saying it was enough to have dash cams in their vehicles, a practice that's become near ubiquitous; departments Deca Durabolin Subcutaneous often adopted body cams only under judicial or political pressure, after complaints about civil liberties violations, racial discrimination, and unwarranted violence and shootings. After the NYPD was found guilty of unconstitutional stop and frisks of minorities, a judge ordered it to start a pilot program with body cameras. The assumption is that surveillance and transparency, at best, will prevent abuses people who know they are being watched improve their behavior or at worst, will make ferreting out and punishing that abuse easier. Oakland, which has the largest deployment of cameras in the country with 684 officers wearing them, got them in 2011, around the same time it was assigned an independent monitor by the Department of Justice thanks to too many complaints about its officers. Oakland's public information officer Johnna Watson says the department now loves them. "It's a factual representation of an incident that can curtail public and media speculation about an incident," she says. "It's gotten to the point where people expect them to be on."
In this age of documentation, juries want videos. So do those tangling with the cops. After the Occupy Wall Street protests in Oakland, a protestor put a video on YouTube that tracked which officers had their cameras on and which didn't, and called for punishments for those who had it turned off. Oakland has punishments ranging from written reprimands to five day suspensions for officers who fail to record their encounters with the public, and a number of officers got in trouble for being too preoccupied during Occupy to activate their cams.
There aren't many studies on the effect of cameras but the few out there find that officers behave better wearing them judging from a decline in complaints from citizens and use of force incidents. "There's good reason to believe police body cams will have a net positive effect on the world," says Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst at the American Civil Liberties Union. "But our "Anadrol 50" endorsement of it is still pretty provisional."
The ACLU wants law enforcement agencies to use technology that prevents Dianabol 25 Results videos from being deleted by police, but policies that stipulate that video not be archived forever and that it only be reviewed when an incident occurs. Otherwise, rather than protecting the public, cameras could allow for much more intrusive searches, say if an officer noticed when reviewing his video that there was a bong in a back room. A federal survey this year found that a third of law enforcement agencies using body cameras don't have written policies.
Stanley says the ACLU has gotten reports of shenanigans where cameras are mysteriously turned off at crucial moments. "Anabolika Definition" Sometimes, officers fail to turn the camera on at all. "The officer has to do muscle memory training," says Oakland PD's Johnna Watson. "We have struggles with it. You'll hear on the radio a supervisor telling people not to forget to activate their cameras."
This fall, Taser announced a new body cam feature for the forgetful: AXON Signal, which will remotely activate cameras in a 30 foot radius using Bluetooth based on certain triggers, such as the activation of a taser or a cop car's flashing lights, both of which may indicate shit is about to go down. As cameras get more sophisticated, so could the sensors that activate them. Raised voices or the officer's heartbeat becoming more rapid could become the "on" button.
Of course, as the technology gets better, it means the cameras could also become more intrusive. Not only might they turn on more easily, their analytics could get smarter. You could imagine layering facial recognition into the software so that officers can scan faces in a crowd as easily as police cars with advanced technology currently scan license plates. Rather than being a check against the abuse of power by police officers, enhanced personal body cameras could one day make them more powerful. Of course, by then, most of us will probably have an app that does the same thing on our smartphones.
New technology is a good thing UNLESS it actually HELPS police protect the public!! (heaven forbid.)
I get it.
I've spoke with several law enforcement agencies who've adopted the cameras and they're delighted to have their personnel protected from false accusations of misconduct and frivolous lawsuits.
I guess that would be a BAD thing, in your estimation.
One thing is true though, claims of misconduct have indeed dropped off among agencies that have adopted the cameras.
And a very clear cut case I observed explains why that's happening.
A criminal was hauled into jail on drug charges and started complaining about mistreatment by the cops who arrested him. His allegations were pure BULL$HlT, and we know this because the policeman involved was wearing one of the department's first body cameras and the whole incident was on video.
The chief watched the video, then told the defendant and lo! the guy changed his story. After that, word got out to the criminals and, sure enough, their fictions of police brutality went away.
Don't worry though. Video may never lie but lawyers can lie about what the video shows and juries can be duped into thinking they're not seeing a life and death situation.
On the other hand, it may be helpful for the public to see the kind of detritus that cops deal with day in and day out, perhaps on one of those YouTube channels, maybe several of them.