Bodycam Advocates Now Claim Body Cameras Are A 'Threat To Civil Rights'

A civil rights group released a study that says bodycams can alter the way a police officer writes a report.

Washington, DC – Civil rights advocates demanded accountability from law enforcement agencies through the use of bodycams in the wake of the Ferguson riots.

One at a time, police departments nationwide have implemented bodycams, at considerable expense, to satisfy their critics and provide more “transparency” in law enforcement.

The result? A new report from The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights said that bodycams pose a “threat to civil rights.”

The report, “The Illusion of Accuracy: How Body-Worn Camera Footage Can Distort Evidence," was released on Tuesday, according to Newsweek.

A big concern listed in the report is an officer's ability to watch the footage whenever they want, including before they write incident reports.

“Unrestricted footage review places civil rights at risk and undermines the goals of transparency and accountability," Vanita Gupta, current leader of the Leadership Conference, said,

Gupta is a civil rights attorney, former ACLU director, and former acting assistant attorney general of the civil rights division under former President Obama.

The report claimed that an officer's memory of an event may be altered by watching bodycam video footage, and reports written by the officer about the incident would then also be altered.

The problem appears to be that defense attorneys can't pick at minor differences between an officer's memory and what's recorded on video.

“Video’s power to improve policing lies in the fact it makes us all eyewitness to police-civilian interactions, ranging from tragic shootings to more quotidian but nonetheless disturbing stop-and-frisks, which are common and … often unconstitutional,” the Washington Post said in an opinion column.

“Video provides compelling evidence of police misconduct and can be used to train, discipline, fire and even prosecute officers. It’s also a potent tool for exonerating officers falsely accused of misconduct. Ultimately, the aim is avoiding illegal, inappropriate police-civilian interactions, because everyone involved acts differently knowing a camera is rolling,” they wrote.

Civil rights groups don’t have a problem with bodycam footage until it’s used to exonerate a police officer, or shows that suspects and victims have threatened police, or behaved badly during a recorded incident.

At that point, bodycams become a threat to civil and constitutional rights, according to Gupta’s assessment.

The Leadership Conference, in its report, called for police departments to institute "a clean reporting policy” where an officer would write an initial report before viewing the footage.

Some policing experts, such as Lance LoRusso, disagree.

LoRusso, a former police officer and current Atlanta attorney who represents police officers, said that police officers should view the body-cam footage before writing a report.

"This specter that every time an officer looks at the video they’re going to lie and adapt their statement just is infuriating because we want the officers to write the most accurate report they can,” he said.

Since one major purpose of bodycam footage is to keep all parties involved honest and “transparent,” the Leadership Conference’s one-sided approach doesn’t make any sense.

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Comments
No. 1-18
DaytenMGriffin
DaytenMGriffin

One word to describe this. "Retarded"

Yomama
Yomama

Damned if you do, damned if you don't. Effing Libs.

jmp022871
jmp022871

Police should ALWAYS have access to bodycam and dashcam footage when writing up their reports. The cameras & mics should always be on as well when on duty. This way, everything can be documented completely for everyone's safety.

Also, when an officer has been accused of misconduct, all dashcam and bodycam video should be released within 1 week of the accusation. Regardless if they are guilty or innocent. To, put the public at ease and to show that the police is being transparent with the public. Being willing to stand up to corruption within their ranks.

Babyjames11
Babyjames11

Body cams protect and preserve all. It's time all parties have the facts and this is an appropriate avenue to do so. Whether police over reacted to a situation or the individual resisted etc., causing the end result, body cams do not lie. Let the chips fall where they may. All parties exposed. He said, she said is no longer in the mix. Truth and justice for all. Release of cam footage should be released quickly so that the twisted version cannot be disputed.

Betts122
Betts122

What about accountability from these people who stand around yelling and trying to interfere with the police officers. Police officers have rights too! All blacks have cameras and they all got their cameras going when the first cop is on the scene. Blacks can alter their camera video as well as they say the Police do. I have to wonder if they don't want police videos because they know it shows what is really going on. I'm tired of hearing their one-sided rhetoric.......it's about what really goes down when problems arise.