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ACLU Questions Oakland's Body Camera Policy In Fatal Shooting

October 03, 2011  | 

An Oakland Police officer's body worn camera captured a fatal shooting with a suspect that drew questions from trial attorneys and the ACLU about whether officers should be allowed to view footage before speaking to investigators.

The officer's Vievu on-body camera, which is about the size of a pager, captured the Sept. 25 shooting in East Oakland. The officer fatally shot the suspect, who had a gun and drugs, after a foot pursuit and struggle.

The officers are usually allowed to view their footage after filing an initial report. In this instance, the office wasn't allowed to view the footage prior to speaking with investigators.

Questioning the policy was the American Civil Liberties Union and John Burris, an Oakland attorney, who said officers who shoot suspects shouldn't have access to such a video because that would give the officer "an opportunity to change your story to match the video."

The city bought 350 wearable cameras late last year from Vievu of Seattle for $540,000, and began issuing them to officers, who are expected to record all of their stops and arrests.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle.

Related: Turning Cops into Cameras

Comments (13)

Displaying 1 - 13 of 13

Coloradolawman @ 10/3/2011 5:40 PM

What's wrong with being able to watch the video to make sure their recollection of the incident matches the video. I can't tell you how many times video/audio recordings have jarred my memory. Does the ACLU not want the truth in the report? They amazed me with their stupidity.

Tom Ret @ 10/3/2011 6:08 PM

If you take the opposite position of what the ACLU espouses chances are high you will be right.

Chris @ 10/3/2011 6:22 PM

Ok let me understand. The ACLU wanted everything to be recorded to make sure officers aren't racist. Now we have the cameras that show exactly what happened and they don't like that because it shows exactly what happened. Ummm whats the difference when te PO sees it. It shows what happened. Right?

Tim Martin @ 10/3/2011 6:42 PM

Just so we are straight here. The ACLU is afraid the officers will alter their statement s to match the truth. Why should we not be surprised. They tell us that eyewitness testimony is unreliable. The truth is the ACLU wants the opportunity to label officers as liars so their testimony can be discredited in court.

Morning Eagle @ 10/3/2011 10:22 PM

Another prime example of the ACLU's on-going attempts to set the rules for how the police do their jobs. They pretend to be interested in getting at the truth but they do not really care about that, what they want is more control of police procedures. They must be resisted at every turn. Give them an inch and they will just keep pushing for more.

D.M.M. @ 10/4/2011 5:10 AM

It is ridiculous to not let the Officer involved see the video before writing his report. Having been involved in a Deadly Force Encounter, I can assure you that no matter how well you prepare, your recollection of time / space / events can be different than reality. I had a vivid recollection of exactly how many shots I fired and actually argued with the investigators over how many shots I fired. When I was finally allowed to see a cruiser dash cam recording of part of the encounter, I was quite surprised to see that I actually fired more shots than I recalled. It was right there in living color and the investigators had my empty cases. It was ruled a good shoot and I had no legal issues but I would have liked to have had the opportunity to see the footage prior to writing my report.

Matt @ 10/4/2011 7:27 AM

The problem is that neither the investigators nor the ACLU understand visual/auditory distortions in critical incident situations. They all need to read LTC Dave Grossman's book on this topic, or attend a Force Science seminar put on by Bill Westfall. I'm ok with not showing the video to the officer before he/she writes the report in the event there could be any intentional wrongdoing, but if the basic facts in the report are supported by the video, the officer should be able to see what really happened in real time, not how he/she remembers it. But on the other hand, any discrepancies must be filtered through the lens of understanding the effects of how critical incidents impact physiology and not holding a person accountable to their memory of every detail of the incident.

If the ACLU didn't go after everything that moves like a vicious pit-bull they would not have nearly the press coverage and would lose support. They don't really want to support TRUTH, just whatever will get their names out there to keep getting funding from liberals who don't know any better!

J.M.M. @ 10/4/2011 7:57 AM

Does the officer not have any civil rights? Why is the ACLU not fighting to protect his rights from being unfairly judged if the video and his memory don't match up?

David Hamblin @ 10/5/2011 12:54 PM

You could bet your ass the sorry cry babies of the ACLU would be whining as loud as possible if they could not review something before hand. But because it's a police officer these liberal bleeding heart bastards want to twist it around. AS USUAL!!!!!

Dave @ 10/6/2011 12:16 PM

They're not called the "American Crook Lover's Union" for nothing!

Capt David @ 10/14/2011 2:53 PM

Big Brother! How far will cameras get involved in our lives..

Deputy Kevin @ 10/20/2011 4:31 PM

Very few cops will ever have to exercise their option of deadly force over their entire career. I've had to do it twice and regardless of whether there is a video or not, your personal recollections and auditory response will be affected. The difference might be an officer who has prior military experience and has been into battle against an opponent who was really trying to kill them. My first shooting was classic slow motion and I did not even hear my own gun fire 4 times, but I did watch each of the bullets travel in slow-motion right into the guys whose gun I clearly heard discharge twice at me. Within seconds after I rushed him and cuffed him and began first-aid and CPR, I was on my radio coordinating responding units and medics. As soon as they arrived and I knew we had absolute control, my mind went completely blank and I could not recall shooting at the guy until I reviewed the PVS tape. The second one was almost the same but I remembered every split-second of the incident which I attributed to having experienced it before. Officers MUST be given access to all investigatory tools before making any statements other than the "public safety" statement. If you are a California Peace Officer, you must know your rights under the Peace Officers Bill of Rights (POBOR). As for the ACLU they sometimes get a bad rap. They are in place to defend the Constitution of the United States and individual state's rights so they will take the cop's side if you're right. Been there too. Good luck and be careful out there!

woodeye @ 12/14/2012 3:17 PM

How many times has the recording been unreliable and eyewitness statements, whether police or otherwise, made a difference in what actually happened?

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