Police Abuse

Chicago Police Deliberately Sabotaging Recording Devices, According to Report

Something to keep an eye on as body camera programs are implemented.

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I guess we should be glad that one dashcam was still working.
Laquan McDonald and Jason Van Dyke

Did you wonder why the Chicago Police dashcam video that showed the fatal (and brutal) shooting of Laquan McDonald didn't have any sound? Its microphone was not working, and as DNAinfo in Chicago has discovered, the police department seems to have a bit of a problem with officers' dashcams and microphones cutting out, sometimes due to what was classified by the department itself as "intentional damage":

Maintenance records of the squad car used by Jason Van Dyke, who shot and killed Laquan McDonald, and his partner, Joseph Walsh, show months-long delays for two dashcam repairs, including a long wait to fix "intentional damage."

On June 17, 2014, police technicians reported fixing a dashcam wiring issue in police vehicle No. 6412, the squad shared by Van Dyke and Walsh, about three months after it was reported broken, records show.

A day later, the same vehicle's dashcam system was reported busted again. It took until Oct. 8, 2014, to complete repairs of what technicians deemed "intentional damage," according to reports.

Just 12 days later, on Oct. 20, 2014, dashcam video recorded from squad car No. 6412 on the night Van Dyke shot and killed McDonald did not record audio. The video that went viral showing Van Dyke killing Laquan was taken from a different squad car, but it, too, had no audio.

DNAInfo notes that four other police cars on the scene failed to record audio and only two of the five cars that had dashcams actually caught any video. On the night of the shooting one reported a "power issue" that kept the camera from being used, but technicians reported no actual problems upon inspection.

This, observers might guess, does not appear to be an anomaly:

On 30 occasions, technicians who downloaded dashcam videos found evidence that audio recording systems either had not been activated or were "intentionally defeated" by police personnel, the records show.

It wasn't until the absence of sound on the videos from Laquan's shooting that problems with dashcam systems came to light.

Police officials quickly placed the blame on officers and shift supervisors responsible for making sure dashcam systems work properly before officers go on patrol.

In December, interim Police Supt. John Escalante warned the rank and file that they would be disciplined for failing to follow proper dashcam protocol. Weeks later, he followed through by hitting some officers and supervisors with formal reprimands and up-to-three-day suspensions.

A police union rep complained, wanting to know how they could be so certain that police purposefully caused damage. Well, a police spokesman pointed out that since the crackdown on officers to make sure they were operating the systems properly, there was a 70 percent increase in the amount of video uploaded at the end of each shift.

This is a reminder of the importance of not allowing too much secrecy of a police body camera program. The horrific MacDonald shooting brought to light a problem that apparently has been going on for a while. But some police departments are approaching the use of body cameras with the intention of keeping video secret from the public. If that happens, how will the public know whether the police are not subverting the system yet again?

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  1. Scott, Nicole linked this in the PM Links. If you don’t hat tip her, she’ll worst you forever. Trust me, you don’t want that.

    1. We’ve hit peak worst, and it’s not so bad. We can deal.

    2. Scott undoubtedly has better things to do than read the comments in a PM links thread Epi. Like watching paint dry or driving nails into a board with his forehead.

      1. I don’t know…Scott seems like someone with nothing better to do all the time.

    3. You generally read her comments? Weird.

      1. If I don’t, she beats me! She’s so mean!

        1. I’m tough, but fair.

          1. Episiarch: Nicole… (takes a drink) Well, I was terrified. Everyone was terrified of Nicole. I’ve seen grown men pull their own heads off rather than see Nicole. Even Warty was frightened of Nicole.

            2nd Interviewer: What did she do?

            Episiarch: She used… sarcasm. She knew all the tricks; dramatic irony, metaphor, pathos, puns, parody, litotes, and…satire. She was vicious.

            1. Rather than this, I think I’ll try to commission SugarFree to [shudder] write up one of his ribald yet tasteless morality plays around these beatings of which you spoke.

  2. If you can’t be trusted to be competent in keeping your equipment in good working order how can you be trusted to be competent to investigate crimes?

    1. Or more importantly, know when to shoot people.

    2. Investigating and solving are two different things.

  3. And nothing else will happen.

  4. How do we know people weren’t stealing from the church collection plate? Well, since we made people start counting in pairs, and mix and match the pairs randomly, donations are up 30 percent.

    How do we know employees are actually working OT? Well, since we bought a biometric time clock, OT is down 25 percent.

    Coincidences, I’m sure.

    1. The failure rates of biometric devices go up a million times when they are used to clock time for police departments.

      Something about noble and selfless service breaks them down.

  5. Chicago police are corrupt? What a shock.

    1. Next they’ll tell us there’s gambling going on at Rick’s.

  6. …formal reprimands and up-to-three-day suspensions.

    Too harsh. Why, they could kill a guy and get off easier than that.

    1. I believe if you look at the procedures manual you’ll find a formal reprimand and an up-to-three-day suspension is the going rate for shooting two senior citizens; one cripple; a baby (white); two babies (black); or up to four (4) teenagers of any color. These offers are for a limited time and may not be combined, maximum three (3) per officer.

  7. They fix the camera, and it’s broken the very next day? They should call the cops!

    1. “Hey, yous knows, stuff breaks somestimes. Yous hits a bump and AM, dere goes de camera again.”

  8. On 30 occasions, technicians who downloaded dashcam videos found evidence that audio recording systems either had not been activated or were “intentionally defeated” by police personnel, the records show.

    One would think evidence tampering would be some kind of crime.

    1. Cops are held to a higher standard, which means no standards at all.

    2. “Crimes” are what serfs are accused of. The King’s Men don’t commit crimes. Occasionally they may fail to “follow procedure,” in which case they’ll be required to complete additional training (with overtime pay) or perhaps be suspended with pay forced to take a paid vacation.

      1. Rules apply to the peasants, not their rulers.

    3. Their occupations entitle them to infinite deference on our part. Long live the Emperor! Long live His Glorious Constables!

  9. Chicago Police Deliberately Sabotaging Recording Devices, According to Report

    Gee, where’s my shocked face…

  10. Make it law that any span of time which isn’t recorded on video (WITH audio) doesn’t count as on-duty. Period.

    IA: “Your camera wasn’t catching the incident, Officer.”

    Officer Cockgobbler McDiarrhetic: “It… broke.”

    IA: “In that case, you shot the suspect in the back 25 times from without your capacity as a law enforcement officer. The DA will be in touch about whether capital or second-degree is the way to go. Have a nice day, fuckbag.”

    1. Ah, but ‘not on duty’ doesn’t mean the same thing for you and I that it does to a cop. A cop is *always a law enforcement officer*, there are just times he doesn’t get paid for it.

      Personally, I would love to see that this changes – if you’re not on the clock you’re not an LEO any more than an paramedic or firefighter are those things when at home.

      1. My mistake, I completely overlooked that — but that’s EXACTLY the way it should be.

        You fuck up, you pay. End of story.

      2. A cop is *always a law enforcement officer*, there are just times he doesn’t get paid for it.

        Being a cop is not a job. It’s a lifestyle. You do whatever the fuck you want, whenever you want, and no one will stop you. Just flash a badge and threaten to assault anyone who does. What are they going to do? Call the cops?

      3. It very much used to be that way. “I’m off duty” meant that a cop was no longer a cop. But in the “tough on crime” wave that started in the 70s and into the 80s, lots of localities and states started passing laws that cops could still make arrests for things like felonies even when off duty, and that started to morph into “on duty at all times, with all the attendant power that implies”.

        There’s no way that trend is getting reversed. The pigs love it far too much.

    2. Make it law that any span of time which isn’t recorded on video (WITH audio) doesn’t count as on-duty. Period.

      LOL!

      Welcome to Hit & Run!

      Y’see, the way this works is, things that would normally be covered by laws and charges are handled as ’employee disputes’ when you’re a cop. Law all you want, there’s a union rule that’ll overrule it, forever and ever, amen.

      1. Though, if sufficient political will ever developed to fix the problem, that means that the union contract itself abets criminal activity, warranting RICO charges against the union and the city.

    3. A modification to that, which might actually work, is to refuse to accept testimony from a cop if their recording device is inoperative. But I also like the off-duty remedy. No camera, no pay, and no time toward your pension.

      But of course, the Criminal Police (BIRM) Department won’t be held to any standards. Criminals stick together like glue.

  11. I can’t think of a single job I’ve had where intentionally damaging my employer’s equipment wouldn’t be grounds for immediate termination and possible criminal charges. I wish I was held to a higher standard like the cops. Then I could destroy everything my employer owns and get a raise for my efforts.

    1. I can’t think of a single job I’ve had where intentionally damaging my employer’s equipment wouldn’t be grounds for immediate termination and possible criminal charges.

      It’s just failure mode testing… yeah, that’s it! We wouldn’t want these fancy recording devices broken in a real emergency. We was doing yous a favor!

    2. That’s because you’re held to higher stan… wait, that’s gonna fuck up the narrative.

      Let me rethink that statement.

  12. police department seems to have a bit of a problem with officers’ dashcams and microphones cutting out, sometimes due to what was classified by the department itself as “intentional damage”:

    Remember when the cops boldly said that dashcams help their case? Funny that.

  13. since the crackdown on officers to make sure they were operating the systems properly, there was a 70 percent increase in the amount of video uploaded

    See? Training *works*!

  14. A police union rep complained

    Well, that’s kind of what they do.

  15. If that picture was only of the guy on the right, the perfect alt-text would be ‘Hey man, like who cut your hair?’

  16. “intentional damage”, when it comes to equipment used to collect evidence for law enforcement purposes, is called “obstruction of justice”.

    1. Tell that to HRC.

      1. Hillary for Prison 2016!

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    1. See, I don’t mind anonybot, and even the “until I started I couldn’t believe I was making 7639 dollars a month working only…”, but this shit is going to get old quick.

    2. You should have fucked another guy on camera, and sent your then-boyfriend a copy, with a brief break-up declaration at the end of the tape, like that Marine’s wife in ‘Jarhead’.

    3. Does he have a scar from ear to ear? Can he make my mugshot disappear?

    4. Clears my passwords? Sweet! Do I have to send all of them to him or what?

  18. Has Lois Lerner found a new job in the IT department of the Chicago Police Department?

    Have they set the date for her execution for treason yet?

  19. Next move would be to unionize the dashcam techs so the reports no longer reflect “intentional damage”.

  20. But….totality of circumstances! aftpapic! dunphy said so!

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