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Police Body Cameras Can Threaten Civil Rights of Black and Brown People, New Report Says


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Josh Saul

11/14/17

 

The number of U.S. police departments outfitting their officers with body cameras increases each year, but the cameras can pose a threat to civil rights if the departments fail to set rules that govern when officers review footage from their cameras, according to a new report.

The vast majority of the nation’s biggest police departments allow officers to watch footage from body cameras whenever they want, including before they write their incident reports or make statements, said the report, which was released Tuesday by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

“Unrestricted footage review places civil rights at risk and undermines the goals of transparency and accountability,” said Vanita Gupta, former head of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and current head of the Leadership Conference, in the report’s introduction.

Because an officer’s memory of an event may be altered by watching body camera footage, doing so will likely alter what officers write in their reports. That, in turn, can make it more difficult for investigators or courts to assess whether the officer’s actions were reasonable based on what he or she perceived at the time of the incident, states the report, “The Illusion of Accuracy: How Body-Worn Camera Footage Can Distort Evidence.”

 

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Let me see If I got this right. Submitting an accurate report is a threat to someones civil rights.

 

885013

 

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