Body Cam Footage Clears Police Officer Of Bogus Sexual Assault Allegations

from the the-almost-impartial-witness dept

With so many police forces being saddled with body cams against their (or their union’s) will, you’d think this form of public accountability (but not really, because so many legislators are helping cops opt out of the “accountability” part) was foisted upon law enforcement by axe-grinders looking to finally expose the proverbial “bad apples.” There’s some truth to that, seeing as some of these implementations have originated as stipulations in settlements with the DOJ.

But what can damn can also exonerate. This video, posted by notorious cop-haters* CopBlock (who, in return, are universally hated by haters of cop-haters…), shows that body cam recordings aren’t solely there to encourage cops to be on their best behavior. They’re also there to nudge citizens in the right direction. But in this case, the “aggrieved” citizen was far too impaired to notice her dramatics were being observed by an unblinking eye.

*I am, of course, using the term facetiously.

The young woman in the video attempts to set the officer up by using her phone to record an audio only performance meant to make it appear as though he was acting inappropriately. She was attempting to ‘flip the script’. What she failed to realize is that the entire thing, including her devious performance, were recorded.

Audio-only: for when you want a certain version of the “truth” on record. (Still a step ahead of the FBI’s pen-and-paper interrogation “recordings…”) After failing a field sobriety test, this woman thought she could turn an embarrassing arrest into sexual assault allegations. She asks to use the restroom, and while in there, wonders aloud (a bit too aloud, apparently) how she can get her arresting officer in trouble. Cue the false accusations of “inappropriately touching” her while she was in the squad car and her saying, “Please don’t touch me” when the officer is outside the bathroom door, getting this all down on his body cam.

Now, while this does show that body cams can help cops, rather than just “hurting” them, there’s still the issue that far too many agencies retain strict control of the resulting footage. This was released by the involved police department — something likely expedited by the fact that the recording showed no wrongdoing by the officer. The real test of this department’s transparency will come when the disputed footage isn’t nearly as flattering.

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Comments on “Body Cam Footage Clears Police Officer Of Bogus Sexual Assault Allegations”

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21 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I’m offended by this line: The real test of this department’s transparency will come when the disputed footage isn’t nearly as flattering.

Sounds to me like Techdirt is saying, “so what”. I don’t see any praising by this police department for doing the right thing.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The fact that Techdirt wrote about the incident indicates they’re not saying “so what.” “So what” would be ignoring it and pretending that it didn’t happen. But Tim makes a good point that the release of this video was understandable since it exonerates the officer. The department wasn’t “doing the right thing,” per se. It was doing the honest thing because, in this case, the honest thing made them look good.

If you can find a scenario where this particular department released footage that made them and a particular officer look bad, but still chose to “do the right thing,” feel free to share it to support your perspective that the department is praiseworthy. Some departments do release such footage, but not all of them. Some of them mysteriously “lose” the footage (or “loose” if you’re typing on the internet).

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re:

So, instead of praising the police department for its use of body cams, Techdirt, as usual, slams the police department for actually doing the right thing?

I have no idea how you managed to come up with that interpretation. That makes no sense whatever to me. When I read it, this seemed a very poor interpretation of the situation:

But what can damn can also exonerate.

I don’t want to damn cops for doing what’s right, and a cop doing the right thing shouldn’t need exoneration. Maybe I’m just too sensitive. This camera footage proves he was just doing his job as he should have been. Cop-cams are a good thing, because they keep both sides honest.

I don’t want good cops to fear being captured on camera doing their jobs as they should. I do want “bad guys”, whether bad cops or jerks like this woman, being held accountable.

This’s a happy ending, brought to you by police body-cams. Great job, officer!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Charge her

I completely agree with you, people that make false charges should be made examples of, the problem is there are thousands of people makeing false accusations all the time, so it makes it hard to see what is real and what is not real.

Guess we should all wear google glasses or body cams all the time and then these allegations would never happen, but oh no the MAFIA will come up against these as they may be used to record a video or song without permission.

Looks like we are screwed either way.

Paraquat (profile) says:

Body & dash cams should be required for police

I think that all police departments should be required to outfit their officers and their patrol cars with video cameras. And it should be prohibited for the officer to disable such devices, on pain of being fired. The only time they should be able to cover the lens is when they’re going to the toilet.

As another poster said, having this keeps both sides honest. One reason why the police should be in favor is that when they encounter a really bad buy, the video evidence will be very useful in getting a conviction. But of course it works the other way too – rouge cops who abuse and plant drugs on prisoners will have their bad behavior recorded.

Emelio Lizardo says:

Well, given the presumption of guilt attached to any sexual complaint the officer was very lucky.

Hope everyone recalls the constant bleat of Feminist (gender Marxists) that women never lie about sexual assault.

This is loud example of women’s motives on using such accusations, and how easily it comes to them.

Perhaps college students should be required to wear body cams when alone with a woman.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Part of the ongoing grievance regarding police officers is their selective preservation of camera footage.

Dash cam and body cam footage is typically controlled by the prosecution, and is released to the defense only when the footage is determined beforehand to serve to convict.

That doesn’t serve a balanced justice.

When footage that shows police misconduct vanishes, is procedurally withheld or is never shot due to a failure to record, the justice system is weakened for it. When this is the expected norm, there is no reason for the people to retain confidence in the justice department at all. And the only reason individuals are held accountable to the DoJ is because they have more guns.

Footage is expected to surface when it serves to defend a law-enforcement officer. That’s normal.

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