Another Police Accountability Miracle: Five Officers, Zero Body Cam Footage, One Dead Body

from the back-the-blue...-into-a-corner dept

We know body cameras haven't been the police accountability godsend some imagined they would be. (I admit I saw a far rosier future when they first started being put into service.) So far, the research jury's still out on the effectiveness of cameras in deterring misconduct and excessive force deployment. And, so far, they've been far more useful to prosecutors than plaintiffs in civil rights lawsuits.

You can put a camera on a cop but you can't change the system that leads to abusive behavior and practices. Nothing's changing much for officers other than the attachment of a lightweight ride-along. Policies may require officers to activate their cameras in nearly every situation, but if no one's willing to hold them accountable for refusing to do so, then nothing's going to improve.

Since law enforcement agencies maintain control of equipment and recordings, there's not much the public can do when critical footage goes missing. Cops learned early on device tampering can reduce discrepancies in paperwork and shore up lies delivered as testimony. What went unpunished when it was just dashcams and body mics has continued forward to swallow the accountability body cams seemed to promise.

For the Albuquerque PD, destroying recorded evidence is allegedly just part of its daily duties. A former contractor employed by the department claimed officers and supervisors routinely altered or deleted body cam footage. It's a serious allegation. And it assumes there's even footage to alter. In the case of the Mary Hawkes, a 19-year-old woman killed by an Albuquerque PD officer in 2014, there was no footage to be had when her family's attorney Laura Ives asked for it.

The narrative provided by the PD when asked what happened to the footage that could possibly have been captured by the five officers on the scene is literally unbelievable. It's a chain of coincidences the world's worst novelist would have been ashamed to hammer together to hold a flimsy story together. Five officers. Zero useful footage of a shooting by police officers that resulted in a person's death.

The sergeant on scene, Brian Maurer, said he believed he turned his camera on during the incident, but the department later said he hadn’t recorded anything. In his deposition, the sergeant testified that his camera had never malfunctioned like that before.

"Never malfunctioned like that before." Unlucky that. But that leaves four officers…

There was another officer who was standing nearby when the shooting happened. He originally said he hadn’t seen the shooting at all. But when confronted with the only images of the shooting that we have — very vague footage from an officer’s lapel camera who was parking his car at the time of the shooting — it was clear that this officer lied about not seeing the shooting.

What did get recorded by this officer (who can be seen pointing a gun towards the shooting victim in the 10 seconds of captured footage) wasn't even enough to fill the camera's default buffer. Taser body cams create a rolling 30 second buffer that's retained when cameras are activated. The reason this officer only had 10 seconds is because he shut his camera off. That's according to the APD itself. Rolling buffer defeated and 20 seconds of footage that would have captured the shooting is now nonexistent.

That leaves three officers.

Yet another officer could have captured important footage of the shooting, but his recording was so heavily pixelated it was impossible to glean anything from the images. No one in the department had ever seen footage corrupted like this before, and APD claimed that this was the result of yet another malfunctioning camera.

Two officers.

The fourth officer said he was recording on his Scorpion camera at the time of the incident, but there was no video on his camera’s SD memory card.

The official excuse here? Another "malfunction" right during the critical moments of a shooting. The APD kept the "malfunctioning" camera in service which went on to live a full and useful life capturing random cop events without another malfunction.

One officer left. And this is the one who actually shot Mary Hawkes.

He claimed that his cord had come unplugged. The department sent his camera off to Taser for analysis, and Taser found that the camera had been powered on within 8 minutes of the shooting, but was powered off in the moments before.

Taser examined the camera and said it was possible a loose cord could have powered it down. It also said it could have been turned off with the power switch. The cord was damaged but did not affect the camera's functionality.

Only a couple of the cameras that mysteriously malfunctioned during the shooting were examined by the PD or Taser. None of the cameras were preserved so they could be inspected by experts to see if the issues could be duplicated or if any footage could be obtained from the "faulty" cameras. The cameras all went back into service despite having proven to be utterly useless when it mattered most.

So, is it likely all of these officers conspired ahead of time to ensure there was no usable record of this shooting? Of course not. These events unfold quickly. And what likely happened is far more nefarious than a conspiracy. All of these cops -- independently -- recognized the developing situation to be the sort that might result in damaging recordings. And they all acted independently to ensure nothing of value to anyone outside of the force was saved.

These five simultaneous "malfunctions" are the product of a corrupt system that values the lives and careers of cops above all else, even the lives of the citizens they're supposed to serve. This is an ingrained mindset that circles the wagons whenever officers' actions might be called into question. When a citizen gets killed, it's a cop's word against the victim's. And the victim can't say shit. The only thing that might leak some inconvenient truths are the body worn tattletales. They might upend the official bullshit scrawled across department paperwork after everyone involved has agreed on a narrative.

That's the way it works. That's the nastiness of US policing. It's the uncanny ability of multiple officers to act defensively in support of their careers while in the middle of a situation so very dangerous they need their guns drawn. They'll defend questionable decisions in court by claiming they had no time to think about what they were doing, but they obviously have enough of a self-preservation instinct to ensure nothing but the official narrative survives an officer-involved shooting.


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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 26 Jun 2018 @ 2:11am

    Butchers in blue

    Five 'malfunctions' and multiple lies in a situation that resulted in a death? Yeah, that positively reeks of knowing that someone was about to be murdered, or at the absolute minimum five cops who realized that what was about to happen wasn't something they wanted recorded and took steps to ensure that the only record was their (completely untrustworthy) word.

    'Destruction of evidence'/'obstruction of justice' should have been the lightest charges all five of them faced, though I suspect the worst they faced directly(the ACLU article says the case resulted in a $5 mil settlement) was a slap on the wrist and a wagged finger for being too obvious in the cover-up of a murder.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JoeCool (profile), 26 Jun 2018 @ 5:41am

      Re: Butchers in blue

      Isn't spoliation of evidence supposed to be counted as negatively as possible against the defendant? Lucky for cops like this that the DA would never prosecute.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Zgaidin (profile), 26 Jun 2018 @ 4:14am

    I'm curious as to generally when we expect the downward-sloping curve of public opinion/trust in cops to intersect with the upward-sloping curve of officer violence, militarization, and criminal obstruction conspiracies to intersect. I suspect it will result in a very unpleasant watershed moment for everyone involved, and I'd very much like to be inside that year (or better yet, on a different continent). Anyone care to make a guess?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Jun 2018 @ 7:05am

      Re:

      It will happen the first time a loose cannon from the NSA releases footage that it obtained from corrupt departments and the police destroyed once too often. Sometimes the nobody that the cops just killed happened to be the younger sister of someone with power at No Such Agency.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Bamboo Harvester (profile), 26 Jun 2018 @ 9:33am

        Re: Re:

        Nah, NSA? Street cops getting anywhere near NSA personnel or families?

        Now, if the five cops suddenly turn up dead, I'd guess she was DEA...

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Jun 2018 @ 1:23pm

      Re:

      When the population is replaced with a lower IQ, and disarmed, they will roll out their plan.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Jun 2018 @ 7:49pm

      Re:

      I expect that it will end with cutting the police. If people vote for their budgets and don't like the added insult to injury of having to pay for their brutalization, prosecutors are too complicit to hold them responsible that is the easiest way to address them. Start cutting their budgets and then once they throw their hissy fits crime doesn't rise or drops they'll stay defeated on the police budgets. They're so goddamn dense that rather than get the hint that people are pissed they'd start more harassment fundraising campaigns and then get their levers taken away from them over further abuse. Sadly I expect the optimistic timeline for that resolution to be in thirty years.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 26 Jun 2018 @ 4:14am

    No damage done.

    Sure all the cameras malfunctioning at the same time is a pretty unfortunate coincidence but it does not sound like any exonerating evidence has been lost.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Jun 2018 @ 4:29am

    out_of_the_blue's heroes, ladies and gentlemen. Stupidity, malice, authoritarianism, and fuck the citizen all in one.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 26 Jun 2018 @ 4:49am

      Re:

      Well, those citizen rights activists aren't going to beat up and kill themselves. They have to rely on the government for that. Call it Trumpcare. It didn't start with Trump, of course, but it shares Trump's vision of compassion.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Jun 2018 @ 8:40am

      Response to: Anonymous Coward on Jun 26th, 2018 @ 4:29am

      > out_of_the_blue's heroes, ladies and gentlemen. Stupidity, malice, authoritarianism, and fuck the citizen all in one.

      Your Anti-police Bias is clear as is Techdirt's, and your smear-in-advance precludes any rational agreement. SO, just to fulfill your prediction: YES, I'll lean toward supporting the police over YOU lying pirates and dopers.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        David, 26 Jun 2018 @ 9:43am

        Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Jun 26th, 2018 @ 4:29am

        Partisanism is nothing really new. But it's really become a defining trait of the Trump area (including the preceding campaign) that facts themselves are met with defiance and considered as unfair and biased. They are not even talked down or "put into perspective" anymore.

        As an example, in the Obama era there was a lot of hubbub about the CIA torturing people and how it has been rationalized away and hidden. With Trump, the topic rather is how much more torture is wanted. Constitutionality, legality, humanity, self-respect or even effectiveness: all defiantly yesterday's news.

        It's not just the government that is going fascist. It is public discourse as well.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          OA (profile), 26 Jun 2018 @ 11:22am

          Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Jun 26th, 2018 @ 4:29am

          It's not just the government that is going fascist. It is public discourse as well.

          Bravo. Government and the governed are not as separate as it often appears.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 26 Jun 2018 @ 9:50am

        Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Jun 26th, 2018 @ 4:29am

        Thanks for identifying yourself again. Way to hide your identity, wise guy!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        JMT (profile), 26 Jun 2018 @ 6:12pm

        Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Jun 26th, 2018 @ 4:29am

        "Your Anti-police Bias is clear as is Techdirt's..."

        At this point I'd have to question why anyone wouldn't have an anti-police bias, or at the very least a presumption that bad behavior is quite possible. This was five cops who all had the same corrupt and abhorrent idea at the same time. Not only that, every senior officer who was involved is equally complicit. Explain to the class how the theory of "a few bad apples" applies here. Tell us why we shouldn't have an anti-police bias.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), 26 Jun 2018 @ 7:09pm

        Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Jun 26th, 2018 @ 4:29am

        Yeah. These angels certainly don't deserve the derision the author of this post has heaped on them.

        [I'll lean towards supporting pirates and dopers. There's almost zero chance they'll kill anyone and destroy all the recorded evidence.]

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 26 Jun 2018 @ 4:37am

    Few bad apples...

    They tell us the cops job is hard & dangerous...
    Yet more citizens end up dead than cops during encounters between the two.
    We give them cameras to remove any doubt they acted responsibly... magically they break down, fail, erase things, accidentally record cops creating video evidence, record cops bad behavior... but its the techs fault not that some departments had cameras that were broken, fixed, and less than 1 day later dead again.

    Perhaps it is time to stop giving cops an inch, cause they've just about finished the run to Marathon from all of the passes they've been given.

    Cops say if citizens don't follow the little laws (which they always use as a pretext to get the drug dog so they can steal your car) bigger crimes follow. Perhaps no one considered when you let the little rules slide for cops they are more likely to behave like a gang, terrorizing people at will.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Jun 2018 @ 5:33am

      Re:

      If being a cop is dangerous, being a non-cop is even more dangerous.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      discordian_eris (profile), 26 Jun 2018 @ 3:41pm

      Re:

      Last year about 130 cops died 'in the line of duty'. Most were car wrecks, some were homicide. In return for fewer than 50 cops killed by violence, they killed between 1200 and 1300+ civilians. Cops need to shut the fuck up about there job being dangerous to them. It isn't. It's dangerous to everyone else.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That Anonymous Coward (profile), 27 Jun 2018 @ 6:52am

        Re: Re:

        they included heart attacks to help inflate those numbers.
        Yet they were unable to comply with the DoJ rules about providing data on citizens dead at the hands of cops (once again).

        Everyone knows being a cop is dangerous... except thats not actually true. A few incidents are portrayed as a massive invading horde declaring war on law & order yet the millions in property stolen from citizens never charged with a crime are downplayed b/c the property was criminal!

        We have medical tests forced on citizens, that at every stage did not support the cops intuition, yet they did more & more b/c there is no way a cop is wrong. People sue over these clear violations of their rights & bodies... courts say nope, you can't sue them & the hospital is suing you to be paid for the procedures you never agreed to.

        If they want us to treat them better, perhaps they need to do a hell of a lot better & clean out those few bad apples rather than demanding we accept them. Cops panic when they pull over a black driver because this could be the one out to get them... Have they ever considered this is how black people feel when pulled over on a pretext, that this might be the cop who is going to kill them & then tell a jury they powered up like a character on dragon ball z & coudl have hurt the cop.

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    identicon
    cops, 26 Jun 2018 @ 5:05am

    cops are killer thugs

    kill the killer cop thugs anally up the arse

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That Anonymous Coward (profile), 26 Jun 2018 @ 5:29am

      Re: cops are killer thugs

      While I am sure there is porn to feed these desires in your head, this really adds nothing to the discussion & just gives them something else to point at to distract the attention from serious problems.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Jeremy Lyman (profile), 26 Jun 2018 @ 5:43am

    The cameras and officers all went back into service despite having proven to be utterly useless when it mattered most.

    How do we get to a world where officers are in deep shit if they don't have a recorded record of what happened at the end of the day?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Jun 2018 @ 6:53am

      Re:

      Its not that they didnt have a record of the events - its that they all magically lost it causing us to think (know) they are full of shit.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JoeCool (profile), 26 Jun 2018 @ 8:52am

      Re:

      The cameras need to be monitored, and the INSTANT a camera "malfunctions" the officer is pulled off duty and sent to the service department. If the camera is fine, the officer is not.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Jun 2018 @ 6:02am

    In a war, the first victim is the truth.
    In a police incident, the first victim is the footage.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 26 Jun 2018 @ 6:33am

      Re:

      That's because truth and/or footage would paint a biased and misleading picture in utter disregard of actual campaign contributions.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    BoingoOingo, 26 Jun 2018 @ 6:34am

    No camera footage, no pay.

    That would be just for starters.
    They only get paid for the time that there is camera footage to cover.
    Next, I'd say that without camera footage to back up their statements and reports, that they will be treated as lies, and damned lies and be rejected, all charges against anyone arrested dropped.
    Any suspects injured or killed will mean assault or murder charges against every officer involved that does not have full camera footage.

    Yes that means a cop that actually does have a broken camera could be charged, but that's the only way to be sure.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Jun 2018 @ 7:06am

      Re: No camera footage, no pay.

      Beginning and end of shift camera checks should be added to cop duties. Cameras MUST work before a cop is allowed on the street. Hourly camera checks are required during the shift. If a camera fails to be in-service at the point of any arrest, the (pre-)arrestee MUST be released with no official arrest processing. If a citizen is killed by a cop, and killer-cop has no complete and forensically provably unedited footage from his/her own camera, the immediate result is a first-degree murder charge.

      If a cop gets killed in a violent encounter with a private citizen, and the cop's camera isn't running, let's make a presumption of self-defense on behalf of the cop-killer automatic.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Jun 2018 @ 7:52am

      Re: No camera footage, no pay.

      Future cameras should log activations/deactivations (plus any lens blockage), and broadcast the data to headquarters with everything being copied to an independent oversight agency. They shouldn't allow deactivation unless all weapons are holstered.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        JoeCool (profile), 26 Jun 2018 @ 8:56am

        Re: Re: No camera footage, no pay.

        The cameras should NEVER deactivate. 100% active 100% of the time. It's too easy otherwise to claim problems with the camera. Also, weapons being holstered is not a solution as cops can and have killed people with their bare hands, choking out some "perps", beating others to death with fists and boots.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Dwight Brown (profile), 26 Jun 2018 @ 9:08am

          Re: Re: Re: No camera footage, no pay.

          "The cameras should NEVER deactivate. 100% active 100% of the time. It's too easy otherwise to claim problems with the camera."

          Do you really want body camera footage of cops taking a dump?

          Do you want footage - publicly accessible to anyone who files a FOIA request - of police interviewing a rape victim?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 26 Jun 2018 @ 10:11am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: No camera footage, no pay.

            I know the FBI has that weird policy of not recording interviews, but I'm pretty sure many victim interviews are already being recorded by other police departments. Sorry, but if you're going to tell society that a person needs to be locked up for a few decades, both society and the defendant get to see the evidence that says why, and that includes victim testimony.

            But yeah, it's unreasonable to have someone carry an active camera into a bathroom (even if you somehow think the officer doesn't deserve privacy, what about the poor guy using the urinal when the officer walks in?) So either you need an off switch (which we have now) or the officer takes the camera off and maybe "forgets" to put it back on. And even if it's always supposed to be on, the camera might still "malfunction".

            I don't think the cameras can necessarily take 8 hours of footage at a time, either. You run into issues with battery life and/or storage capacity. I'm looking at the specs for one, and it can only do 400 minutes with a fully charged battery and the IR and high-resolution features off. And now you're either throwing all that footage away at the end of the day unless you know something happened, or finding a secure place to store multiple gigabytes per officer per shift.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Dwight Brown (profile), 26 Jun 2018 @ 10:30am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: No camera footage, no pay.

              "Sorry, but if you're going to tell society that a person needs to be locked up for a few decades, both society and the defendant get to see the evidence that says why, and that includes victim testimony."

              Agreed, though I would make a distinction between evidence in a criminal trial that both sides have the right to, and Joe Random being able to obtain hundreds of hours of body camera footage through a FOIA request. I think there are situations where individual privacy has to be respected, and that may mean that some body camera footage just isn't available to the general public. You should be able to put a legal structure in place that addresses both public accountability and personal privacy, but I feel like the law just hasn't caught up with the technology yet.

              "And now you're either throwing all that footage away at the end of the day unless you know something happened, or finding a secure place to store multiple gigabytes per officer per shift."

              Yeah, that's one of the things about body cameras that fascinates me as an IT guy: how is all that body camera data stored and how long? What are the default retention settings ? What does the physical infrastructure for that look like? And what's the UI for retrieving and managing the footage?

              Unfortunately, I haven't found the guys who do that in either department I volunteer with. Yet.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 26 Jun 2018 @ 10:57am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: No camera footage, no pay.

                Which produce the greatest amount of video in 24 hours, self publishes on YouTube, Vimeo etc., or the police? I suspect that YouTube would handle all the police videos for persistent storage with no problem, as they are practiced at growing and managing video storage.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            JoeCool (profile), 26 Jun 2018 @ 2:58pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: No camera footage, no pay.

            There may be times when footage should be RESTRICTED as to who gets access, but it should still record 100% of the time. You cannot leave control of the camera up to the cop or it WILL be abused. I'd make a third party in charge of any edits footage needs as cops have proven that giving them editing privileges is also a bad idea.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            JMT (profile), 26 Jun 2018 @ 6:14pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: No camera footage, no pay.

            "Do you really want body camera footage of cops taking a dump?"

            Given the current state of affairs that's the price we may all have to pay.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            cattress (profile), 27 Jun 2018 @ 12:44am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: No camera footage, no pay.

            I agree that cameras should always be running, but we should have technology to log the activities to match recording. For instance, an app on the officer's phone or computer, the officer could select a restroom mode, which would kick the camera back on automatically if the officer "forgets" after 5 minutes or so (and could be extended for another 5 minutes if it is a number 2)
            Whenever an officer is interviewing victims, witnesses, suspects- any member of the public- the officer would use this same app to note the person they are speaking with, and indicate "sensitive" status if necessary.
            I'm not a UI designer- but I think everyone gets the general idea. But no doubt cops and their unions are interested in such a logical "solution"....

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 26 Jun 2018 @ 11:52am

          Re: Re: Re: No camera footage, no pay.

          weapons being holstered is not a solution as cops can and have killed people with their bare hands

          An unholstered weapon is a sign we definitely need to be recording; it shouldn't happen when interviewing a victim or using a toilet.

          It's true that a holstered weapon doesn't tell us much, but I'm suggesting we start with something easy. Any instance of weapons drawn without video being recorded should be detected in realtime and result in disiplinary action if not criminal charges (unless the camera got damaged after an incident started, and the cops didn't damage it on purpose).

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Jun 2018 @ 6:48am

    I'm with the police on this one.

    She was obviously a demon with incredible supernatural powers who had to stopped at all costs. I mean, look at how just being in her vicinity caused all those otherwise reliable video cameras to suddenly malfunction all at once.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Jun 2018 @ 6:58am

    Here's a way to fix things...

    Not that this will ever happen since people in power enjoy having that power too much, but I did a thought experiment a while back about how to solve the issue of "malfunctioning" body cameras. In jury trials, the judge has the option of giving instructions to the jury about weighing evidence and testimony. They'll often say that if someone has testified to something, and the evidence or other testimony contradicts them, that the jury may regard any of their testimony (even the parts that nobody contradicts) as suspect. In cases where an officer should have captured body camera footage, and that footage was not captured or disappeared, judges should instruct the jury to treat the officer's testimony and reports as unreliably and untrustworthy compared to other, more solid evidence. We'll see how many cameras "malfunction" when the officers on the scene aren't allowed to testify or are allowed to be called outright liars by the defense in front of the jury. And if a camera actually malfunctions, well that's just more incentive for the PD to put some effort into better maintenance and inventory control.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Dwight Brown (profile), 26 Jun 2018 @ 7:15am

    I'm pro GOOD cops.

    I'm anti BAD cops.

    I've been through two citizen's police academies (one in a large municipality, the other in a smaller city) and do volunteer work with the police departments. I've had the change to hang out with and talk to some of the officers.

    The one thing I hear regularly from my local officers is "Good cops LOVE body cameras. If you get into trouble, the body camera will prove you were in the right." Here in Texas, we had a recent case where a state trooper was accused of sexually assaulting a woman he had arrested: the department released all of the body camera footage (with only her personal identifying information redacted) which proved definitively that the alleged sexual assault never happened. Her lawyer actually publicly apologized to the officer.

    With all that said and my biases stated: five body cameras failing? That's unpossible, in my opinion.

    "The cord was damaged but did not affect the camera's functionality."

    You're supposed to check your gear before you go out on the street. If I was a cop, I wouldn't go out with a gun or a Taser that was damaged: why would I go out with a body camera that was damaged?

    I work in IT. If I had FIVE different pieces of equipment from the same vendor fail at the same critical moment, I would be on that vendor like a fat man on an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet for a damn explanation, and I'd be releasing the vendor's explanation and plan for corrective action to every newspaper, TV station, and blogger in the area once I received it.

    Given what I've seen elsewhere, even with my own biases, I'm not inclined to give the Albuquerque PD any slack here. And I agree with the other commenters who suggest this constitutes spoilation of evidence.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JoeCool (profile), 26 Jun 2018 @ 9:01am

      Re: I'm pro GOOD cops.

      Spoliation. People often switch the l and i because it's so close to the word "spoil" and actually means spoiling something. :)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 26 Jun 2018 @ 5:02pm

      Re: I'm pro GOOD cops.

      I'm pro GOOD cops.

      I'm anti BAD cops

      Despite what some commenters might claim on articles like this I imagine most people here fall into the same category, where we/they're not anti-cops, we/they are anti-corrupt cops.

      The 'problem' with that is two-fold:

      First, by the standard of 'any cop who covers for a bad cop isn't a good cop' most cops, with a few exceptions, would likely not be in the category of 'good cops'. Whether you're putting someone into the hospital or morgue because you can directly, or you're looking the other way for someone who is, there's very little difference from the public's perspective, and neither of those can honestly claim to be a 'good cop'.

      Secondly, and this is what seems to get people to claim that TD and various people here are 'anti-police', there seems to be a common grossly dishonest conflation between going after police corruption, and going after the police, such that one is treated as the other.

      If you have a problem with police corruption then clearly you have a problem with police in general, and the funny thing is the ones making this conflation don't seem to realize that the only way that even begin to work is if corruption is so widespread, so ingrained into the police as a whole that the two are indistinguishable, such that it's impossible to go after one without hitting the other.

      (Now, this does seem to be the case, but I rather doubt it's something they'd care to admit to.)

      As I noted in a comment a few years back(the more things change huh?), I'd like to be able to trust the police, to feel safe around them and believe that they are truly devoted to the public's welfare as opposed to their own, but as it stands it would be incredibly stupid, potentially suicidaly so, for me to do so.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        BernardoVerda (profile), 26 Jun 2018 @ 8:14pm

        Re: Re: I'm pro GOOD cops.

        Frank Serpico. Adrian Schoolcraft.

        It can be very hard (effectively impossible) for a "good cop" to even remain a cop, once they are known to have broken the "thin blue line" of police officer solidarity. And it's more likely than not to have no impact on the actual problem.

        I don't know what the solution is -- but I'd say that simply dismissing all the cops as complicit and therefor bad cops, seems a little over-simplistic.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 26 Jun 2018 @ 10:16pm

          Re: Re: Re: I'm pro GOOD cops.

          Which kinda highlights my point. Good cops exist, it's just they tend to end up ex-cops(as both of those did, one of them nearly fatally), because the majority rather like the system as it is, and are willing to take steps to keep it that way.

          The kind of actions displayed in this article and those two stories do not come about by 'a few bad apples', they are the result of systemic, widespread corruption, top to bottom.

          (Reading the Serpico wikipedia entry right now and it seems pretty clear they tried to get him killed, and Schoolcraft they tried to frame as mentally unstable.)

          I don't know what the solution is -- but I'd say that simply dismissing all the cops as complicit and therefor bad cops, seems a little over-simplistic.

          Are all of them complicit? No, as you pointed out and I agreed to there are some who actually prioritize serving the public over CYOA(though again the former tend to end up ex-cops), but I feel safe in saying that it appears that the majority, if not the overwhelming majority are, if not directly then by their indifference/willingness to look the other way.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    I.T. Guy, 26 Jun 2018 @ 7:20am

    2 types of criminals in this world. One with badges and one without. At least we can see the latter coming.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Jun 2018 @ 7:39am

    It's funny how their guns always work when needed but their cameras never do. How's this for a possible solution: a gun with a built-in camera that won't fire unless the camera is live streaming to a public server?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Dwight Brown (profile), 26 Jun 2018 @ 10:48am

      Re:

      "How's this for a possible solution: a gun with a built-in camera that won't fire unless the camera is live streaming to a public server?"

      So if I'm an armed and dangerous criminal planning a crime, I invest a little money upfront in a signal jammer. Then if it comes to a shootout, I can shoot at the police and not worry about return fire until my battery runs out.

      (Yes, I know, signal jammers are illegal. Which I'm sure is going to stop my hypothetical armed and dangerous crook: "Oh, my God! I don't have a problem with shooting at the cops, but don't turn me in to the FCC!")

      Even if you think that's a crazy hypothetical, everyone who has a cellphone knows there are places where the signal stinks on ice: do you want a police officer to be unable to defend herself and innocent civilians because AT&T's 5G service isn't working at her location?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        David, 26 Jun 2018 @ 1:12pm

        Re: Re:

        do you want a police officer to be unable to defend herself and innocent civilians because AT&T's 5G service isn't working at her location?

        Well, worth a try. So far nothing else has worked to make politicians hold telcoms to their hugely subsidized promises. Accessory to murder charges might be the incentive needed.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Will B., 27 Jun 2018 @ 9:42am

        Re: Re:

        So, the gun doesn't fire unless the camera is active and *attempting* to stream to a server. It has a b-storage on the camera itself, as well, in the event that the wifi is jammed or just shitty.

        At the absolute minimum, it would require police officers to plant their own (illegal) signal jammer on the corpse of any non-criminal they decide to just kill for fun.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 27 Jun 2018 @ 10:28am

        Techy service weapons

        Currently, law enforcement are allowed to own their own array of weapons, and commonly do as upgrades and customizations from their service pistols.

        The point at which we have all the additional tech we want to add (which is also reliable, such as biometric locks) is way off, and in the meantime we approach an age where 3D printing will allow police (and civilians!) to home brew weapons with ease, that skirt around these limitations.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Hero, 26 Jun 2018 @ 7:52am

    I can't find much info on the number of shots fired by the police, but the best I could find was five shots. Using CBP math, that's 5 officers, 5 bullets, so 5*5 = 25 counts of murder.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Jun 2018 @ 7:59am

    Yes there is...

    "Since law enforcement agencies maintain control of equipment and recordings, there's not much the public can do when critical footage goes missing."

    Yes there is... they can refuse to convict defendants facing nothing but the sworn testimony of lying officers, or convict the officers involved with at least some form of negligence if officers are being sued.

    There is no question of guilt here, just a question of if guilty party was performing properly or improperly and if any punishment should be dealt in response to a bad acting cop.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Jun 2018 @ 8:19am

    Warner Bros Calls Press Conference

    Warner Brothers reported this morning that beloved cartoon icon Bugs Bunny has not been heard of in several days.

    CEO Kevin Tsujihara told reporters that the leporine star of many acclaimed short films disappeared en route to Las Vegas. Credit card receipts indicate that Bugs made it as far as Albuquerque, where he was supposed to make a left turn, but there is no record of him proceeding further.

    Albuquerque PD Chief Elmer Fudd issued the following statement: "We awe devastated to heaw about this twagic woss, and we pwomise to devote evewy wesouwce to finding evewyone's favouwite wascally wabbit. Unfowtunately, awe body camewa footage duwing the time that Mr. Bunny was hewe has been cowwupted, deweted, ow wost. Ouw fine offices wiww be wesuming the seach aftew wunch. Twy the hasenpfeffer, it's dewicious!"

    This is a developing story and will be updated as further details emerge.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Jun 2018 @ 8:34am

    To get YOUR slant must omit any cause for police being there.

    Five just showed up out of the blue, eh? -- No, you're lying by omission of what can only cast suspicion on person shot, as WRONG to do so as you claim the police are: you see what's coming and OMIT key evidence.

    Mainly, you don't KNOW what happened, are simply ASSUMING, which is yet worse. You wouldn't be allowed on a jury.

    Again: where's your "innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt", and "better ten guilty go free than one innocent be jailed" phrases? You apply those only to thieves and drug users?

    Techdirt is now blatantly showing it's utterly biased against police, because you're basically criminals: pirates and drug users. -- What? You object to unproven assumptions? Without those above, is no STORY.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Jun 2018 @ 8:44am

      Re: To get YOUR slant must omit any cause for police being there.

      "Better ten guilty go free" and "beyond a reasonable doubt" are legal ideals. Have any of the cops been charged for their actions?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 26 Jun 2018 @ 9:12am

        Re: Re: To get YOUR slant must omit any cause for police being there.

        out_of_the_blue believes that if a pirate is alleged to be in an apartment building the entire residential complex must be set on fire. With all the residents inside. Because pirates.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Jun 2018 @ 9:48am

      Re: To get YOUR slant must omit any cause for police being there.

      You object to unproven assumptions? Without those above, is no STORY.

      Tell me, what happens if a car with 5 passengers is stopped, searched, drugs are found, and no one admits to owning them? What happens? They're all charged.

      Until that changes, I'll be fine with saying that at least one of those pigs tried to cover up a fuck up on purpose.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Jun 2018 @ 10:48am

      Re: To get YOUR slant must omit any cause for police being there.

      The city settled a civil suit for millions of dollars, mostly because the failure to preserve evidence meant bad things were about to happen to them at trial.

      Four of the officers claimed malfunctions. The other one apparently decided to totally power off the camera, and apparently lied about not seeing the shooting. What are the odds of a camera malfunction - one in a thousand? Even if you don't count the officer who powered off as a coincidence, the odds of a one in a thousand coincidence happening 4 times is one in a trillion.

      The thing about reasonable doubt is, it has to be reasonable. I don't know where exactly the line is, but wherever it is, one in a trillion is clearly on the wrong side of it.

      Plus when it comes to the civil suit, the standard isn't reasonable doubt anyway; it's preponderance of the evidence, and failure to preserve evidence pretty much results in the the court assuming the evidence was not in your favor.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JMT (profile), 26 Jun 2018 @ 6:22pm

      Re: To get YOUR slant must omit any cause for police being there.

      "...because you're basically criminals: pirates and drug users."

      I'm used to be falsely accused of piracy by you loons but drug use now? Where the hell does that come from?!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 26 Jun 2018 @ 7:08pm

        Re: Re: To get YOUR slant must omit any cause for police being there.

        Same place where out_of_the_blue pulled your IP address (that wasn't even correctly identified) from: his ass!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 26 Jun 2018 @ 8:27pm

      "you don't KNOW what happened"

      Nor do you. Though I'd think in a sane world we'd have some sort of judicial review any time that shots were fired or aggressive action taken by law enforcement. But history going deep into the twentieth century demonstrates that isn't the case, or when there is, that it conflicts with what is shown on private cameras.

      In the meantime, we have the highest incarceration rate in the world here in the US, and a conviction rate of 90% (And an indictment rate of nearly 100% -- except when it comes to law enforcement and state officials). I, too, ask whatever happened to beyond reasonable doubt and better ten guilty go free... when it is evident we are funneling warm bodies into prisons, and may have an over-fifty-percent false conviction rate.

      (And then, when an imprisoned party finds exonerating evidence, Hell and high water will rise to stop him from presenting it to prove his innocence and secure his freedom.)

      So no. Corruption in the DoJ is so systemic that all cops are bad (if by no other reason than their tolerance of and comfort to the killers).

      No law enforcement system at all would be better than the profiteering system we presently have.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rekrul, 26 Jun 2018 @ 9:07am

    I see a bunch of links to past stories, but did I miss the link to the original article this one is based on? Techdirt usually cites sources.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Isocrates (profile), 26 Jun 2018 @ 9:33am

    Accountability

    At least this time there were consequences for both the officer and the PD.

    Officer was fired, and the city settled with her family for $5 Million. The family is donating a large ammount of the money to "organizations that prioritize crisis intervention training for law enforcement".

    https://www.krqe.com/news/family-of-mary-hawkes-settles-lawsuit-with-city-former-office r_20180305063256974/1009429404

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 26 Jun 2018 @ 5:07pm

      Re: Accountability

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 26 Jun 2018 @ 5:17pm

      'Well, if we HAVE to...'

      From the article apparently he had a history of 'camera malfunctions', failing to turn the thing on numerous occasions, and this was the last straw.

      (Given what was conveniently unrecorded this time one has to wonder what other acts of his went unrecorded those other times.)

      A city board of course tried to get him re-instated with backpay, though as of a January 11th ruling at least that had been refused.

      So that's one of those involved with a slap on the wrist('kill someone, lose your job' is not 'accountability'), now what about the other four?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Advocate (profile), 26 Jun 2018 @ 11:05am

    Just another isolated incident. The men in blue are not the good guys. I'm taking the red pill.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 26 Jun 2018 @ 11:10am

    Optimistically

    Incidents like this miracle serve to demonstrate that the system is obviously failing. That bodycams that the police can control (and disable without consequence) is not enough to stop corruption and brutality, both of which are epidemic.

    This won't make too much of a difference right now, because the corruption epidemic has spread through the courts as well, who have forgotten that proper procedures protect the public way, way more than convictions.

    It may take a while for this worm to turn.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Improbus (profile), 26 Jun 2018 @ 11:51am

    Surveillance

    What the cops haven't figured out yet is that there are not going to be LESS cameras in the future but orders of magnitude more of them and they wont be able to control them all. Eventually, the truth will get out about dirty/bad cops. Then the problem will get fixed or there be a lot of dead cops and then it will get fixed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Jun 2018 @ 12:02pm

    Or as is more likely, those 5 officers decided earlier that day they were going to murder someone, all came to the same place, picked out a victim, disabled their cameras JUST IN TIME and then shot the victim.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Jun 2018 @ 12:03pm

    I wonder if there are any store cameras etc that might have picked up the officers disabling their cameras?

    Assuming those officers and their commanding officers haven't already stolen and destroyed such video evidence.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Jun 2018 @ 12:35pm

    Honestly, I stopped reading when I saw the word Albuquerque.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Jun 2018 @ 11:37pm

      Re:

      ...I guess the whole point I'm trying to make here is:

      I

      HATE

      SAUERKRAUT

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2018 @ 6:26am

        Re: Re:

        I thought about doing that, but the Bugs Bunny reference seemed easier (and more likely to be recognized) than Weird Al, and "hasenpfeffer" is objectively a funnier word than "sauerkraut."

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    goldfis, 26 Jun 2018 @ 1:19pm

    Those cameras can record for 12 hrs or more and can be set up so the wearers cannot delete the data or turn them off. The public should demand accountability.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    K`Tetch (profile), 27 Jun 2018 @ 12:04am

    "What we're dealing with here, is a complete lack'a respect for the law"
    - Sheriff Buford T. Justice

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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