Judge Rules Police Dash Cam Videos Can Be Kept Secret

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posted on Apr, 13 2012 @ 04:10 PM
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The Seattle courts have voted in favor of not only allowing police to keep any dash cam video from the public, but also to automatically delete the vid footage after a certain amount of time has passed.
This is wrong on multiple levels! It is drawing immediate criticism and justifiably so imo. There is just no way these vids should be held from the public, much less destroyed! These efforts to me reveal an acknowledgement of genuine concern regarding police misbehavior that their head people are trying to cover it up. Sure they may be concerned about a public outcry to witnessing some cases, but which is worse, that or serving the public by honest and open relations,like they are supposed to. We pay their salaries, so we should be allowed to scrutinize.

I was going to do a thread a while back, suggesting that maybe a new approach would be beneficial in preventing some police violence as well as providing evidence for or against a specific incident. I was thinking that the dash cams should be made available to public LIVE, 24-7. This would one, maintain records and evidence of events, and two, perhaps affect cops behavior in future arrests. They say a camera keeps people honest, and since we the public are increasingly monitored, surely the officials should be too. I think that if cops knew they were being watched, they would behave differntly, and there is a huge problem with out of control officers these days! If they don't make it publicly available live, at least have live feeds going to Internal Investigation agencies. This would make a huge overall difference, no?

This vid is the only report I can find thus far.

Peace,
spec




posted on Apr, 13 2012 @ 04:29 PM
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reply to post by speculativeoptimist
 


Completely agree with you.

I think police dash cams are a big reason for the decrease in police brutality (albeit it hasn't decreased enough). Before their implementation police use to get into all sort of trouble. My dad was a cop in the 70s in a very small NC town, they did not have dash cams and he said the deputies did a lot of "off the books" stuff when dealing with certain situations usually involving using their "blackjacks" on an uncooperative subject.

I bet a lot of stuff like that has stopped now because of the cams, my Mom's boyfriend use to be a cop and always tells me if a cop takes me out of the car to always make sure I'm positioned in front of the dash cam. He knows what kind of stuff can go down if a cop is having a bad day or is acting like he has something to prove.

I agree these cams should be live streaming, and if that cant work they should at least be screened by someone in internal affairs on a consistent basis.



posted on Apr, 13 2012 @ 04:37 PM
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reply to post by Openeye
 

Agreed Openeye, even if they don't/can't keep the cam vids live streaming, to delete them or hide from public is..well a crime imo. Seattle is perhaps the worst of the worst when it comes to police brutality cases. so it is not surprising this issue has reared it's head there. But at least a decision is being addressed and decided upon, and so farm it seems that the public and various organizations are not going to allow this judgement stand.

Thanks for the reply,
spec



posted on Apr, 13 2012 @ 04:51 PM
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Well Seattle prepare for some martial law.

holding a video back for 3 years is absurd, and an obstruction of justice. And as that one cop told the kid he was gonna throw him in jail for robbery, and the kid asked "robbery?" and then told him he was gonna just make stuff up. These kind of smoking gun videos are what scare me.

How many other crimes were "just made up"


I say hell no to this law, and if my state adopts this policy, I'll be shouting from the highest roof tops.



posted on Apr, 13 2012 @ 05:05 PM
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reply to post by eXia7
 



How many other crimes were "just made up"

Makes ya wonder huh? I have seen half a dozen explicit examples of officers 'making stuff up' and flat out doing illegal things, usually from a moment of loss of self control. We know it happens and even if it is in the minority of overall policing, there is still enough to warrant concern and make changes. I too think this judgment will only make things worse, and I think a live feed dashcam would make a HUGE difference in these incidents!

Thank you for the reply,
spec



posted on Apr, 13 2012 @ 07:38 PM
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reply to post by speculativeoptimist
 


I can see the merits on both sides of the argument.

If there is nothing on the video but basic patrol actions then there is really no reason to waste resources storing the video. In order to store it most departments have to have a separate isolated system with limited access (if its used as evidence).

I agree on not withholding anything from the public to an extent. If the video footage captures relevant information and releasing that information could cause issues with an investigation then it should be witheld from the public until such time the release won't have any effect. A persons rights to a fair trial outweigh the public interests in having access to certain iformation / evidence.

The common sense compromise would be to hold the video for a certain amount of time (quarterly / biannually) and go from there. I dont think the videos that show nothing but basic actions need to be released into the public domain. I say this based on experience dealing with people who have an axe to grind. I have seen people who have listened to police radio traffic through a scanner who have been able to not only figure out beat assignments, but the officers full names assinged to those patrol areas, their phone numbers, where they like to take meal breaks at etc.

The other issue is monday morning quarterbacking. If an officer has negative contact with an individual dash cam footage is not necessarily going to show all of the facts / issues surrounding it. If an officer has prior dealings with an individual (especially if the person is / was known to be armed) it allows an officer to take certain actions that aren't normal in other circumstances.

My other concern would be individuals who have issues with the police / laws and those who don't understand the laws. The last thing law enforcement needs are for people like that to constantly interfere / question actions.

I am in favor of releasing info the the public, including dash cam footage, but only if it does not intefere or jeopradize a criminal investigation or interferes / infringes on the rights of the people who might be affected by the release.

I think the quarterly setup is a good comprmise. Keep basic video for 90 days and then recycle after that. The destruction / recycling of the video should be done by a evidence control officer / assigned officer with sole responsibility.

As a side note there are a few cases that have worked their way through state courts dealing with Dashcam footage and I would not be surprised if some of those cases go federal. They revolve around the status of dash cam footage (evidence or no / restricted or no). At my old department we were required to submit our dash cam footage anytime we made an arrest from a traffic stop (warrant / DWI / etc) or if we had a person in custody. Our camera system had one facing forward and one camera facing backwards, both recorded audio.

While police reports eventually become a matter of public record, they can be withheld depending on what type of investigation it is.

The public has a right to know so long as it doesn't jeopardize the rights of the people involved.
edit on 13-4-2012 by Xcathdra because: (no reason given)
edit on 13-4-2012 by Xcathdra because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 13 2012 @ 07:57 PM
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reply to post by Xcathdra
 

Thank you for responding to my invitation Xcathdra, as I wanted some LEO's to weigh in on this and you are the only member (know we have more) that I could recall.


The common sense compromise would be to hold the video for a certain amount of time (quarterly / biannually) and go from there. I dont think the videos that show nothing but basic actions need to be released into the public domain. I say this based on experience dealing with people who have an axe to grind. I have seen people who have listened to police radio traffic through a scanner who have been able to not only figure out beat assignments, but the officers full names assinged to those patrol areas, their phone numbers, where they like to take meal breaks at etc.

I think the police chief should decide when the vids are okay to delete, putting the burden on the head honcho may make a difference for the better?
Yes, I can see how a live feed would not only be a logistics nightmare, but people could be showing up on sight potentially, causing havoc in the process, and perhaps getting more people harmed.


The other issue is monday morning quarterbacking. If an officer has negative contact with an individual dash cam footage is not necessarily going to show all of the facts / issues surrounding it. If an officer has prior dealings with an individual (especially if the person is / was known to be armed) it allows an officer to take certain actions that aren't normal in other circumstances.

True, but still the camera should continue to roll, for everyone's sake, imo. I think there should be some type of policy to discourage officers from having the option to turn the camera/audio off momentarily.


I think the quarterly setup is a good comprmise. Keep basic video for 90 days and then recycle after that. The destruction / recycling of the video should be done by a evidence control officer / assigned officer with sole responsibility.

In general, yes, but for the controversial footage, that may expose wrong doing on the officer's part, the vid should remain available until case is closed, imo.


At my old department we were required to submit our dash cam footage anytime we made an arrest from a traffic stop (warrnt / DWI / etc) or if we had a person in custody. Our camera system had one facing forward and one camera facing backwards, both recorded audio.

Sounds like a good policy, assuring fairness and thoroughness. So in your opinion, is there ever a reason to shut one off before or during an investigation/questioning or arrest? Does an individual officer have the right to do so?
I just feel that if leo's knew their actions were recorded, some(overly aggressive ones) may alter their behavior some. Knowing their superiors, at the least, and/or the public can freely scrutinize their actions, would make a difference I would imagine.

Again, thanks for chiming in,
spec

ETA: I am just trying to think of something that can minimize these tragic events of police brutality. I realize you guys are faced with the worst aspects of society in a daily basis, and this must harden many officers, but if the bad ones cannot exercise proper and lawful behavior, maybe this could make a difference in their decision making.
edit on 13-4-2012 by speculativeoptimist because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 13 2012 @ 08:55 PM
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Originally posted by speculativeoptimist
Thank you for responding to my invitation Xcathdra, as I wanted some LEO's to weigh in on this and you are the only member (know we have more) that I could recall.

I am the only one stupid enough to state it in the forums. There are other law enforcement officers on the site they just choose to not disclose it and I understand why they do that.



Originally posted by speculativeoptimist
I think the police chief should decide when the vids are okay to delete, putting the burden on the head honcho may make a difference for the better?
Yes, I can see how a live feed would not only be a logistics nightmare, but people could be showing up on sight potentially, causing havoc in the process, and perhaps getting more people harmed.

The Chief works provided he can appoint someone who is acting in his authority. Even in some small towns the Chief is busy beyond belief. I think a checks and balance system would work as well with any questions being decided by the commander over uniformed operations.

As far as live feeds go the logistics are present and some agencies use it. I wont name the departments in my area that do this, however the system they use allows central dispatch and line supervisors to remotely access the cars cameras and see in real time whats going on. The other part of the system uses GPS and shows the location of all officers on duty and their location, including direction of travel, speed, if emergency equipment is activated etc etc.

Again though since the public is not versed in the law or policy and procedure there is a huge risk of a civilian seeing something occur that shocks their conscious when in reality the action is valid and legal. Other issue arise with civilians watching real time - seeing someone they know shot and killed, whether or not its a suspect or police officer or civilian. A dash cam does not show everything that occurs on a call so again the issue of misinterpretation is present. In the event of a death notifying next of kin is bad enough in person. Imagine being the affected party and finding out on tv?

I always ask this question in conversations like this -
If you walked into the ER and as you went by a room you see a doctor in the room, on top of the patient, hands made into a big fist, and observe him constantly slam is fist down onto the patients chest.

A person familiar with medical would recognize the technique as a cardio thump. A person not familiar could perceive the situation as the doctor loosing his mind and assaulting the patient. Same holds true for law enforcement.


Originally posted by speculativeoptimist
True, but still the camera should continue to roll, for everyone's sake, imo. I think there should be some type of policy to discourage officers from having the option to turn the camera/audio off momentarily.

Policies are in place and in a few states with case law result force the issue. At the risk of being attacked there are legitimate reasons for turning off a camera and audio. As an extreme example of an actual event an officer was on a traffic stop that went horribly wrong, resulting in the officer being shot multiple times. The officer survived and got help, the suspect was caught. There were questions about the end of the video and why it was shut off - audio / video.

The officer turned it off and made what he thought was his last phone call.

Extreme case yes, but there are situations where its valid.



Originally posted by speculativeoptimist
Thats my position as well.. I am referring to any video footage of a routine day where no actions occurred. Aside from that the footage should be logged and only after a certain amount of time (statute of limitations in my opinion) the videos should be discarded.

We are of the same mindset


Originally posted by speculativeoptimist
Sounds like a good policy, assuring fairness and thoroughness. So in your opinion, is there ever a reason to shut one off before or during an investigation/questioning or arrest? Does an individual officer have the right to do so?

It depends on the situation. Because of the unpredictability of the job, I think there are occasions where officer discretion should come into play so long as they can give a legitimate reason for their actions to a superior.


Originally posted by speculativeoptimist
I just feel that if leo's knew their actions were recorded, some(overly aggressive ones) may alter their behavior some. Knowing their superiors, at the least, and/or the public can freely scrutinize their actions, would make a difference I would imagine.

Again, thanks for chiming in,
spec

Actually we are on camera almost all the time. In addition to Dash Cam footage cameras / audio recording is placed on the new Tasers. We also have body cams in use and some cities in California are field testing a camera mounted on their duty weapons.

The problem with cameras is they are a double edged sword. I can show you incidents where dash cam footage shows an officer shooting a suspect in the back with no provocation. Had it not been for the dash cam of the second officer, whose car was at a different angle, the public never would have seen where the suspect pulled what looked like a gun from his waistband and point it at the second officer. The shooting was justified but it required all cam angles to support the officers testimony.



Originally posted by speculativeoptimist
ETA: I am just trying to think of something that can minimize these tragic events of police brutality. I realize you guys are faced with the worst aspects of society in a daily basis, and this must harden many officers, but if the bad ones cannot exercise proper and lawful behavior, maybe this could make a difference in their decision making.
edit on 13-4-2012 by speculativeoptimist because: (no reason given)

Anything is possible and so long as we acknowledge the problem coupled with ways to decrease accounts and hold those accountable we should be ok. However pinpointing issue with no constructive feedback suggestions wont change anything and only reinforces the all cops are evil stereotype.

An officers use of force is one of the least understood aspects of law enforcement by the public. Law Enforcement is allowed to escalate a situation in order to end it. People see that comment and automatically go to worst case scenario, that cops will just shoot instead of talking. It does not work that way.

What we need above all else is open dialog between the Police and the Citizens we serve. When we stop communicating with each other and just assume, then we have effectively created a hostile encounter in both directions.

Sorry for the long response. I wanted to offer as much info as I could.

As a side note this video can help answer some questions / myths / perceptions people have about law enforcement -
edit on 13-4-2012 by Xcathdra because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 13 2012 @ 10:51 PM
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reply to post by Xcathdra
 



Extreme case yes, but there are situations where its valid.

That part of an officer's discretion, some people may have a problem with because naturally some would suspect an effort to cover one's butt or their partner's because something inappropriate happened. Whereas if the cameras had to remain on, it may sway a flash decision in the future for some. I can see both sides but imo from the armchair I think that is a loophole that could be exploited, and should be discouraged or enforced against. Now in an instance where an officer is shot or injured I could understand that as an exception.


Actually we are on camera almost all the time. In addition to Dash Cam footage cameras / audio recording is placed on the new Tasers. We also have body cams in use and some cities in California are field testing a camera mounted on their duty weapons.

I am glad to see efforts are being made to better these situations.



The problem with cameras is they are a double edged sword. I can show you incidents where dash cam footage shows an officer shooting a suspect in the back with no provocation. Had it not been for the dash cam of the second officer, whose car was at a different angle, the public never would have seen where the suspect pulled what looked like a gun from his waistband and point it at the second officer. The shooting was justified but it required all cam angles to support the officers testimony.

I guess this is just wrinkles in a contemporary and ever unfolding inevitble reality with cameras and the interwebz. People are learning how to not jump to conclusions without knowing the whole story.(Still a ways to go, for sure
) Granted there are a lot of knee jerk reactions as well, even here on these boards, but there are also people that resonate fairness and call others out, thus the public is slowly learning to process these things.



An officers use of force is one of the least understood aspects of law enforcement by the public. Law Enforcement is allowed to escalate a situation in order to end it. People see that comment and automatically go to worst case scenario, that cops will just shoot instead of talking. It does not work that way.

True, and I would add that humans in general recognize blatant bullying, that exceeds beyond appropriateness. Unfortunately, this has been the case in multiple incidents. I acknowledge here, that these acts are in the minority overall.



What we need above all else is open dialog between the Police and the Citizens we serve. When we stop communicating with each other and just assume, then we have effectively created a hostile encounter in both directions.

I have seen the difference it makes, and I for one appreciate it.
I will check the vid later.
Thanks again
edit on 13-4-2012 by speculativeoptimist because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 13 2012 @ 11:05 PM
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How is this allowed, shouldn't this be classed as destruction of evidence?

The video's should be made available upon request to clarify an incident, its no co-incidence 3 years seems to be the magic mark that it is released then instantly deleted.
This is one of the reasons I have my car loaded with dashcams, audio recorders and gps logging.



posted on Apr, 13 2012 @ 11:30 PM
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maybe everyone needs a dashboard cam - not just the police.

this is bunk-bad,bad decision.



posted on Apr, 13 2012 @ 11:44 PM
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reply to post by hadriana
 


I agree that everyone should have allook at dashcams.
You can pick them up for less then $30 on ebay for a acceptable one and use with a 4GB card to capture footage.
Ofcoarse the more you pay the better quality you get such as gps logging, larger cards and better image quality it doesn't cost that much.

If not for police use you can use it in a accident to prove you were not at fault or replay the crazyness on the road.
I'm surprised insurance companies aren't pushing for DVR's in cars.



posted on Apr, 14 2012 @ 12:40 AM
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I also see both sides of the coin in this situation, but I think the judge should have erred on the side of caution about being open to the public, after all, for justice to be served, it needs to bee seen to be served.

I think this type f ting might explain the sudden increase in youtube videos I see appearing online where people have installed their own cams in their cars to record their interactions.



posted on Apr, 14 2012 @ 01:53 AM
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Some of you guys should take a trip to the South sometime. This isn't new. "lost" dash cam footage happens all the time here. They've got to squeeze as much out of Joe Q. Citizen as possible. I would have been 4th generation LEO, had the 2nd gen not advised me against it.

Nowadays, cops are nothing but predators amongst gazelle. For example, I had a marked SUV in Dubach, LA pull up behind my car at a high rate of speed during a rainstorm at 55 mph. After tailgating me at a distance of 5 feet for 300 yards or so, this particular POS whipped his truck into the other lane and tried his best to see through my mirrored tint (eat it, piggy. I have Arkansas plates. tint's legal.) until I hit the city limits. Guy cuts a U turn in the middle of the highway and heads back to his town. I almost filed a complaint with the Chief. Good thing I didn't. That *was* the Chief. I had been driving through his town 4x per week for the past 3 months. I love cruise control.

Sad thing is that there are good, honest cops out there. I blame them most of all. They may not do the worst themselves but they allow the thuggish behavior to happen by remaining silent.

Xcath I don't know you well enough to form an educated opinion about you so I hope you don't take this post personally. My opinion is worth exactly what you paid for it.
edit on 14-4-2012 by netwarrior because: Punctuation



posted on Apr, 14 2012 @ 02:01 AM
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Dave Chappelle says it the best i think," Sprinkle some crack on him and get out of here, open and shut case johnson". lol gotta love it!



posted on Apr, 14 2012 @ 02:46 AM
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Ok so with this state declaring States Secrets on PUBLIC dash cam video. I think a lot of Seattle residents could get out of quite a few Say traffic violations if they use this certain court procedure Called " motion of disclosure".

Say you get pulled over ticketed or taken to jail. Then you go to the court and file a motion of disclosure for any and all documentation regarding your case so you may be able to properly defend yourself and they refuse the documentation including dash cams by claiming States Secrets. you would then be able to ask the judge for a dismissal of all charges based on the fact that could not properly defend yourself without these documents including the dash cam video that is if i did my home work right and here is the link for definition of Motion of Disclosure . And then again i may be wrong so if any knows this better than i think i do plz feel free to educate me further.



posted on Apr, 14 2012 @ 09:47 AM
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Originally posted by shortyboy
Ok so with this state declaring States Secrets on PUBLIC dash cam video. I think a lot of Seattle residents could get out of quite a few Say traffic violations if they use this certain court procedure Called " motion of disclosure".


Evidence obtained during an investigation is not a matter of immediate public record. It only becomes a matter of public record when the case is resolved. Most media outlets will request a copy of the probable cause statement since its shows a brief overview of what occurred, the charges and the info supporting the charge. Cases that go down the appeals route can have parts of the case restricted as parts of the case are still unresolved.

While I understand the basic intent is transparency and accountability, there is one major issue you guys keep overlooking.

The publics interest in the case and the demand to see evidence / footage / police reports / witness statements etc all take a back to seat to the accused / suspect / defendants right to a fair and speedy trial. The preservation of the rights of the trumps public interest. People also need to understand that police work is not like law and order or CSI.

Submitting evidence to a crime lab can see a turnaround time of weeks and months, depending on what the evidence is and how it needs to be processed.

All we need to do is look at the Zimmerman case to see what happens when the publics "right to know" is put before the rights of the accused.
edit on 14-4-2012 by Xcathdra because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 14 2012 @ 10:10 AM
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Originally posted by eXia7
I say hell no to this law, and if my state adopts this policy, I'll be shouting from the highest roof tops.


I think you should change the u in shout to an o. Just My opinion.


So, it's now illegal to film police. And they can now just delete, turn off, etc. their dash cams.'

And cops wonder why people are hating on them?



posted on Apr, 14 2012 @ 10:56 AM
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Originally posted by HandyDandy

Originally posted by eXia7
I say hell no to this law, and if my state adopts this policy, I'll be shouting from the highest roof tops.


I think you should change the u in shout to an o. Just My opinion.


So, it's now illegal to film police. And they can now just delete, turn off, etc. their dash cams.'

And cops wonder why people are hating on them?


Where did you get its illegal to film police from?



posted on Apr, 14 2012 @ 11:11 AM
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reply to post by Xcathdra
 


It is illegal to film cops in some states. Maryland is the only one that comes to mind at the moment. I just woke up like 5 minutes ago and i'm a bit foggy.





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