Body Cameras for Police Only Work When On: Did Utah Police Killing of Iraq Vet Sgt. Nicholas McGehee Go Down Like Police Claim?


Utah police in Tooele County responded to a 911 call early Sunday about an injured foot, made on his behalf by the wife of U.S. Army Sgt. Nicholas McGehee, a Purple Heart-earning veteran of two tours in Iraq reported to have been working as a military recruiter.

Viewminder / iW / CC BY-NC-ND

The medical call ended with a deputy shooting and killing McGehee after he allegedly pointed a handgun at the police and refused to put it down when asked.

Police say that when they arrived McGehee was holding a shotgun and involved in some altercation with his wife; the wife left the house before McGehee allegedly came out, now holding a handgun he refused to drop. So a deputy shot and killed him.

McGehee's father told the Salt Lake Tribune his son suffered post traumatic stress disorder after his Iraq service.

While at least one officer had a body camera installed, it was not turned on—because that's standard procedure for a medical call, police say. So, while various neighbors and relatives say they can't imagine how or why McGehee would behave the way the police describe, the police's word is so far all we have about what really happened.

Curiously, none of the three local news accounts I read—from Salt Lake Tribune, local TV and radio station KSL, and Good4Utah.com—mention either talking to the wife or mention her refusing to talk to them. (Only one of them, the Tribune, even names her: Kat.)

Daily Caller notes:

Body cameras have become a hot topic with recent Ferguson and other high profile police killings that drew national outrage. Counties across the country are trying out body cameras as a solution to this problem, but cases like McGehee's raise new questions.

Who should write body camera policies? Should they be uniform? What are the penalties for failing to comply?

[Jared] Garcia [a lieutenant investigating the case] said only a few agencies are using body cameras in Utah. Those that use them are in test stages and still forming their polices. Garcia said McGehee's death will add to the conversation as Utah departments form their policies.

The deputy who killed McGehee is currently on paid administrative leave.


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  1. The nice thing about body cameras is that they make it easy to tell when the cops are lying, even if they’re off.

    1. Their lips are moving?

  2. The deputy who killed McGehee is currently on paid administrative leave.

  3. The deputy who killed McGehee is currently on paid administrative leave.

    Who would had ever guessed?

    The Police department is the only job where an employee of the company can hurt or kill the public, commit misconduct, and even subject their employer (the local/state municipality) to a mult-million dollar lawsuit and still not only keep their job and upward mobility, but can also go on vacation which a bunch of other cops (Internal Affairs) finds reasons to cover up the action.

  4. ” it was not turned on?because that’s standard procedure for a medical call”


    Then don’t send cops to medical calls.

    1. Don’t call cops in the event of a medical emergency.

      1. Spoiler alert: it’s the same number.

        1. 911 operator: What’s your emergency?

          Caller: An injured foot, it’s bleeding pretty bad

          911 Operator: Just hang on, Ma’am, we’re sending a SWAT team right away…

    2. Bored cops do sit and listen to scanners for medical emergencies and show up if they hear something interesting.

      1. Because every medical emergency can be made better with the addition of armed narcissistic assholes to the mix.

    3. Cops are often the closest emergency responders available and usually have some basic/advanced first aid training.

      Police departments around the country are trying to establish policies for the use of cameras. Among concerns are legal liabilities for medical calls like this as a potential violation of HIPAA regulations. They also generally turn off cameras for rape and child molestation calls for the protection of the victim.

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    We’ve found it people! The end of suffering and, dare I say, scarcity is near!

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      1. TED makes dumb people fell really smart.

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          1. It’s okay! Police are the way to help you! Stay calm!

      2. I am not an idiot, thank you very much.

  6. http://www.theguardian.com/wor…..ras-greece

    Good. Do it. Then we’ll see how it works out.

    1. Those comments gave me a headache, one big Godwin-fest.

    2. What I took from that article was that for the low low price of $24BB (converted from Euro’s) we can own all of Greece.

      You know, if we wanted it.

  7. “…the police’s word is so far all we have about what really happened.”

    So we have no reliable information at this point.

    1. Tit with a ten throughout, man.

  8. What are the penalties for failing to comply?

    What are the penalties for a cop murdering someone in the street?

    1. A medal and a few paid weeks vacation.

    2. Paid leave. Full retirement.
      Why did you ask?

  9. If they can turn them on and off, whats the use in having them? Seriously.


    1. Skynet doesn’t like not being able to see.

    2. Departments around the country are trying to establish rules for the use of body cameras. There are questions about violation of HIPAA, for example, on medical calls. There are privacy concerns for rape and child molestation calls.

      It isn’t as simple as saying “turn on the cameras at all times.”

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  11. The deputy who killed McGehee is currently on paid administrative leave.

    Suspended with pay, just like always.

  12. I can tell you this is bullshit (from the Trib article linked):

    The sheriff said his officers do not turn on their cameras during medical calls due to health privacy laws.

    Federal health privacy laws don’t apply to cops. I’ve never seen a state law that would apply, either (although Utah may have something utterly and completely unique, I doubt it).

    I know: a cop lied. Shocking.

  13. What is the rational for ever turning them off? Memory is cheap.

    Just as there (used to be) a presumption of innocence for individuals, there should be a presumption of abuse for cops who turn off their camera. As a cop would say “if you have nothing to hide, then why would you object to being recorded?”.

    1. If you were a victim of a rape would you want your interaction with the first police on scene, and any that might be present during collection of DNA, etc to be recorded and made public (and if it isn’t mandatory to be public information then what good is any camera?)

      Departments are trying to establish rules for the use of body cameras. One concern had to do with possible violations of HIPAA.

  14. The deputy who killed McGehee is currently on paid administrative leave.

    Is there any reason we can’t have these deadbeats picking up trash along the highway while they’re waiting for their exoneration?

  15. Again: there needs to be a corresponding policy with the cams – have it turned off, get the maximum criminal penalty for whatever you did.

  16. Please be respectful of the family during this time!

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