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posted by n1 on Thursday August 28 2014, @11:55AM   Printer-friendly
from the it-wasn't-me dept.

David Kravets writes that US Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) says police departments nationwide should require their officers to wear body cameras in order to qualify for the hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding they receive each year. "Everywhere I go, people now have cameras," said McCaskill during a question-and-answer session with voters in her home state of Missouri. "And police officers are now at a disadvantage because someone can tape the last part of an encounter and not tape the first part of the encounter. And it gives the impression that the police officer has overreacted when they haven't."

Only a small number of US police departments have outfitted their officers with body cameras, including forces in Fresno, California; Oakland; Rialto, California; Pittsburgh; Salt Lake City; and Cincinnati. A recent study with the Rialto Police Department showed that use-of-force incidents and citizen complaints have been dramatically curtailed since the department began wearing body cams [PDF].

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  • (Score: 2) by frojack on Thursday August 28 2014, @05:46PM

    by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Thursday August 28 2014, @05:46PM (#86835) Journal

    I doubt you can require a warrant to store information about an incident in which an officer was involved. Or about transferring that video to other police agencies.

    You don't need a warrant to store your video that you capture on your phone. There is no reason the police should either. Police stations and jails already are video recorded 24/7, and this video is retained for long periods of time. ESPECIALLY if there was an incident.

    Further, agencies currently have procedures, some lax, some quite strict, about sharing police records with other police agencies. There are chain of custody requirements. But nothing says county sheriff can't send copies of records to the next county or the FBI, etc.

    They should be public records, like any other evidence. (Which means Jane Q Public does not necessarily get access to it, and certainly won't if there is an on going investigation or litigation). But lawyers (for both sides) will be able to gain access to it.

    Will departments sit on video when one of their own is accused? Probably. But that's what courts are for. More likely, perpetrators lawyers will move to suppress video showing their asshole clients being abusive, because showing that would be prejudicial.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 29 2014, @12:02AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 29 2014, @12:02AM (#86985)

    > There is no reason the police should either.

    Of course there is, to keep suspiconless surveillance of the public in check.

    As agents of the state we can choose to put any restriction we want on the police. Their right to do something "because they can" ends where the public says it ends.