Washington DC - All DC Police Officers have recently been outfitted with body cameras, but they will be in serious trouble if they have them on during the Inauguration Day protests.
NBC News 4's Mark Segraves reported that it's "against the law" for body cameras to be on while police are at protests unless the officer is required to take action. This means that officers can turn the cameras on when they want to arrest somebody, but they will be unable to capture what led up to the arrest.
America has a lot of recent experience with Black Lives Matter protests devolving into riots. Oftentimes, the only lead to determining the identities of criminal rioters is camera footage. In the 2015 Baltimore riots, Donta Betts was captured on camera squirting lighter fluid on propane tanks. At the Portland election riots November 2016, Mateen Shaheed was captured on camera causing $50,000 worth of damage. During the 2016 Charlotte riots, police were able to use footage to identify the killer who gunned down Justin Carr.
Furthermore, it's fairly standard practice for police to have designated cameramen at protests so the department can not only show evidence of criminal activity, but the department can defend itself from false claims.
Following the Ferguson rioting, a $41.5 million dollar lawsuit against the city was dismissed by a judge when video shows that the complainants were lying. Robert Patrick with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported, Tracey White, alleged she and her 17-year-old son were violently arrested inside a Ferguson McDonald’s. She further embellished the story claiming that officers with rifles converged on them “like something out of a movie.” White stated that as she tried to give her son an iPad she was carrying they arrested her son, and as she protested the treatment of her son she too was thrown to the ground and arrested while officers used racial slurs.
White must have forgotten, or not known, that videos actually showed her being arrested a block away from the McDonald’s. “She agreed that video showed an officer placing hand ties on her, and that she was not on the ground, and that there was no knee in her back,” Autrey wrote. “No racial epithets or slurs were used against Tracey White.”
Groups who intend of breaking the law during inauguration day protests know that cameras are their greatest threat in being identified in prosecuted, so they complained that it would violate their constitutional rights for them to be recorded in a public place where they had no expectation of privacy. Once nonsense like this is repeated enough, people start to accept it as a fact, even though it has no basis in reality. Cowardly administrators either believe it, or are too afraid of a lawsuit, so they hamstring the police to cater to criminals.
But while the ACLU is pushing to prohibit police recording citizens in public, they are also pushing an app called "Mobile Justice" for people to use to record the police and send the recordings to the ACLU for review.
In addition to the peaceful protesters, Black Lives Matter and Anarchist groups have claimed that they are going to "shut down" the inauguration, already giving officers reason to believe that there will be criminal activity at the protests. Now thanks to that hug-a-thug crowd, many of those criminals will likely escape prosecution.
UPDATE: The ACLU responded by trying to mislead people. See their response and our reaction HERE.
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