Police Abuse

No Body Cam From Cop Who Killed Keith Scott Because He Didn't Turn It On

Most fatal police shootings since Charlotte rolled out body cameras have not been recorded on them.

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CMPD

The police officer who shot and killed Keith Scott in a controversial police interaction last Tuesday in Charlotte, N.C., reportedly did not turn on his body camera at the beginning of the interaction, as required by department policy, but only after the shooting occurred.

Such a failure to adhere to policy ought to be a fireable offense. Back in 2013, I argued for zero tolerance for cops. Cops who don't abide by policies in incidents that end in police shootings are unlikely to abide by other policies, so terminating officers who ignore or break departmental policies may get rid of problem cops before they become a fatal problem.

Charlotte rolled out body cameras a year ago, and body cameras are being rolled out around the country, in large part a response to police brutality becoming a prominent national issue. In the first eight months of Charlotte's body camera program, only one in four police shootings were caught on body camera.

Protesters in Charlotte, meanwhile, are attending a city council meeting today to call on the mayor and police chief to resign over their handling of the Keith Scott shooting and aftermath. They should work also toward the dismantling of the police unions that work to create a climate that protects bad cops from accountability. A law removing body cameras from the category of public documents subject to open records laws was touted by the executive director of the North Carolina Republican party as being supported by every law enforcement association in the state. It also passed the state legislature with overwhelming bipartisan support.

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64 responses to “No Body Cam From Cop Who Killed Keith Scott Because He Didn't Turn It On

  1. The cops make it so easy, don’t they.

  2. The body cameras have an “Acquit” setting

    They only film when evidence will exculpate them. When it may aid potential prosecution? Well, clearly the department will need more training funds this year to improve on that problem.

    1. What body cameras need are an Instagram filter that adds a gun sticker in the hands of anyone being filmed.

      1. Dog filter – slut

        Gun filter – dead guy lying on the ground.

  3. A law removing body cameras from the category of public documents subject to open records laws was touted by the executive director of the North Carolina Republican party as being supported by every law enforcement association in the state.

    It’s a safe bet that any time state-level Republicans say anything, it will be the most retarded thing possible.

    1. And supported by every law enforcement association in the state.

      And aside, I assume “law enforcement “association”” is a euphemism for Union.

  4. Um, because it’s better to ask for forgiveness than ask for permission?

    If I suspect I’m going to be involved in a shooting, I too will accidentally forget to start the camera. If I KNOW my camera isn’t rolling, I’m more likely to pull the trigger.

    1. There should be a switch on the holster of the gun and the taser that turns on the camera. The cop can’t do anything about it. If it’s somehow disabled, you’re fired.

      1. Your idea is brilliant, but deeply flawed because you failed to account for how these people think, and would end up just another waste of taxpayer money.

        Hooray! We get to spend the public’s money on a new departmental mandate we don’t actually want. How do we fix it? Well, let’s award the manufacturing contract to the company that delivers the holster switches of the cheapest and lowest quality possible (and pocket the difference), that way they could break by accident. Then we’ve got plausible deniability when our officers break them on purpose.

        Is it any wonder that dash cams and body cams routinely fail, while police interceptors, tasers and firearms have exceedingly low failure rates? It’s not like we’ve gone backward in our engineering prowess in this country. All the rest of their toys work really well except for the ones which might get them into trouble were they to actually function correctly on a consistent basis.

        1. Your idea is brilliant, but deeply flawed because… we’ve already got the gist of what happened once the gun has been drawn and discharged.

      2. If you “forget” to turn on your camera, your testimony cannot be used to prosecute the defendant/ you’re discharged and left at the mercy of those who sue you. If the department can’t account for your actions it has no business defending you.

  5. Accountability? Pffft. That’s for the suckers who don’t have a public sector union backing them.

  6. OK, how’s this, act by analogy and treat the wilful failure to turn on your body cam as a *discovery violation* if you get sued over an incident which happened when the camera was off.

    That is, it should be the same as if you got sued and subsequently refused to hand over the body cam, or destroyed it.

    Except now it’s getting sued and saying that he was *supposed* to generate a key piece of evidence for possible use in legal proceedings, but he wilfully did not collect that evidence.

    OK, treat that the same as if, after the suit was filed, he refused to hand the camera over.

    1. Another suggestion: If you’re a cop and the law or policy requires you to have a body camera operating, but you wilfully refuse to turn it on, or deliberately point it away from the scene of the action, and while the camera isn’t recording you kill someone, it’s manslaughter. Automatic. (unless the crime is of a higher grade)

      1. Or instead of manslaughter, call it “public official causing death and failing to make required recording of same.”

        1. Given that this behavior undermines respect for the rule of law and with it the entire fabric of society, let’s call it Treason.

          1. No, let’s not, treason has a very specific definition.

            1. It’s interesting that both conservatives and libertarians have a problem with this strategy. Progs have no problem whatsoever with intentionally redefining words for political reasons, professing the definitions from ivory towers to legions of the impressionable and stupid, and declaring openly that anyone who objects is a racist (a word which has been itself dramatically redefined within our lifetimes by this same process).

              The strategy works very well. It’s also dishonest as all hell, but that never got in the way of prog politics before.

    2. I don’t think that will work – prosecutors often seem to get away with that sort of shit (and things like Brady violations) because the courts use the “did the ‘error’ (because its *never* wilful) have any material affect on the course of the trial. So they can withhold exculpatory evidence and the onus is on the appeal to prove that that material was important enough that it would have affected the trial’s outcome.

  7. Grounds for immediate firing, IMO.

  8. Yeah, it seems a little too convenient to not have that cop’s film. But along the same vein, why is the movie from Keith Scott’s wife not recording at the exact moments when the cops say he has a gun and when they shoot him. Her film then picks up again after he’s on the ground. That too seems a little “odd”.

    1. She wasn’t legally responsible for gathering evidence for possible use in court.

    2. Try reading through again what you typed and see if anything about that strikes you.

    3. Possibly because to film from your cell phone you need remember to dig it out – and here at a time of stress – find the app, turn on the camera, start recording, FUCKING TURN IT LANDSCAPE, and even then its usually shit because you don’t hold it still.

  9. he din’t turn it on

    Busy.

    Verrrry busy.

  10. The police officer who shot and killed Keith Scott in a controversial police interaction last Tuesday in Charlotte, N.C., reportedly did not turn on his body camera at the beginning of the interaction, as required by department policy, but only after the shooting occurred.

    Such a failure to adhere to policy ought to be a fireable offense.

    Instead the one officer who did turn his camera on is the one who’s more likely to be fired.

  11. Zero tolerance is just as bad a policy for cops as it is for school kids. It ignores the very real possibility of extenuating circumstances and exchanges any semblance of due process for the diktats of a supervisors interpretation of a vaguely written policy.

    Cops should be held to at least the same evidentiary standards and scrutiny as the general public. Cops who are found to have maliciously or callously or negligently killed a motherfucker should be eaten alive by Capybaras. But we should be careful that in our zeal to root out the vicious that we don’t end up firing decent but flawed cops over policy violations. Let’s not give them any ammunition for their rhetorical war on cops.

    1. Cops should be held to at least the same evidentiary standards and scrutiny as the general public.

      So, shot in the back from 40′ away?

    2. The capybara is a large rodent of the genus Hydrochoerus of which the only other extant member is the lesser capybara. The capybara is the largest rodent in the world. Wikipedia
      Height: 20 ? 25 in. (Adult, At the withers)
      Did you know: Capybaras are herbivores that mainly eat by grazing, much like cattle, on both grasses and aquatic plants, fruits, and the bark of trees. factzoo.com

      1. C’mon man – you gots to starve them for a couple days first. Assert man’s dominion like God says. Then they will go through bone like butter.

      2. Did you know that herbivores will eat meat if they can get away with it?

        1. Don’t fool yourself Billy, if a cow got a chance he’d eat you and everyone you ever loved.

        2. Deer have been video recorded eating bird eggs in a nest on the ground.

    3. Public servants also have an obligation to keep records of their activity for accountability purposes. I don’t see why a cop who forgets to turn on a bodycam should be shown any more lenience than a bureaucrat under FOIA requirements who accidentally dropped a form in a shredder or lost an email or whatever, especially if it later turns out that form or email may have indicated some misconduct on the part of that bureaucrat.

      1. And if they accidentally turn on BleachBit ?

        Meh. It was an accident, nothing more.

  12. “Protesters in Charlotte”

    I think you are confused between what Protesters and Rioters mean.

    I still don’t understand the Reason hatred of cops. Or jumping to conclusions before all the facts are out there.

    1. There are many things you don’t understand, Tulpa. It’s your cross to bear.

      1. I will confess a certain amount of confusion upon my return to reading Reason’s blogs and commenting on them after a multi-year hiatus at the flagrant Tulpa accusations.

        After finally spotting a self-confessed Tulpa alt in the wild (I’m coming forward to claim the doubloon), I finally get it. His purported reason for name-hopping is paranoia that people here have put him in a killfile (like this is still the mid-nineties and we’re all on Usenet) and aren’t even seeing his glowing genius unless he hops names routinely to dodge the unfair judgment passed on him.

        I don’t even know if anyone here has bothered to write software like that specifically to ignore certain users, but I’ll go with a simpler explanation: that they’ve simply gotten sick of his shit and ignore him on principle, and lampoon others with his name for sport because… well, that’s how this community is.

        1. There are several types of filtering software made by handsome and wonderful commenters for use here.

          He is handle-hopping to avoid the kill file. And because he wiped his ass so many times with the Tulpa handle that he is completely bankrupt in our reputation economy.

          He also handle hops because it keeps people from being able to throw the stupid shit he says back in his face.

          1. I’m kinda amazed anyone wrote anything third-party for the comments section. The forum software for Reason is awful.

            I don’t even know if you’ll see this comment because there seems no way to see notifications of such. Maybe you could steer me towards these fancy programs if they offer interesting features, for I am too lazy to write one especially if one has already been written.

            I guess his paranoia is justified? Still, a reasonable person would get tired of name-hopping eventually just to troll a bunch of people who don’t care for his antics. It takes a special kind of nutter to keep it up.

    2. We have an unaccountable and out off control government, that has grown to a monstrously obese size, and when the police are the armed agents of that state, and when the police are additionally unaccountable and given qualified immunity and many other forms of deference/defense that their fellow citizens do not receive, then I do believe you can call resistance to those policies “hatred of cops”.

      1. ^Longest sentence in the thread for the win!

      2. Also should be can NOT call…

    3. “jumping to conclusions before all the facts are out there”

      you mean like the cops that shit their pants and shoot without knowing whether they’re truly about to be attacked?

  13. If you can mistakenly shoot somebody and get away with it, what’s mistakenly not turning on your camera compared to that? But the idea that you catch them early when they make little mistakes, before they start committing big mistakes – isn’t that the “broken windows” policing they’re big on?

  14. No Body Cam From Cop Who Killed Keith Scott Because He Didn’t Turn It On

    Fry him. Throw him to the wolves. Also fry the guy who was leading the team that attempted to make the arrest – assuming there was actually someone in charge on the scene and not just a bunch of cowboys raising hell. If the latter, then fry them all.

    Not necessarily because of the shooting – I’ll accept that it might, if you ignore the cops forcing the confrontation in the first place, have been a good shoot.

    But because there is absolutely no excuse in this situation to not have the camera on.

    These guys prepped another arrest, came back, saw the victim with a gun and what they *assumed* was marijuana, left the immediate area to put on IDent vests and, I would assume, plan how to approach the suspect and what each of them would be doing, and at no point did anyone (and the individual officer *and* the OSL are responsible for this) making sure that all the gear was ready to go and operational.

    No fucking excuse for that camera to not be on. This wasn’t a rush job or a situation where a potential shooter popped up. They had time to prep and plan and chose to leave the camera off.

    So fry him. Then let’s see if the camera was actually off or if he’s going to try to claim that he had it on and the department is hiding the information.

  15. The dead guy didn’t obey. That justifies anything. Nothing else will happen.

  16. Sometimes I forget to turn on my body cam too.

  17. Looks like Keith Scott had an ankle holster and a cocked gun with the safety off. So much for the “It was just a book!” story.

    Yeah, the cop’s body cam should have been on, but once again, this seems like not as clearcut a case of police abuse as many seem to think.

    1. Well, we knew he had brain damage. If he was carrying it cocked and safety off in an ankle holster, he’s not only lucky he didn’t shoot his foot off, he’s an idiot.

      If it really was cocked with safety off, I’d say you’ve got pretty good evidence that he was in the mood to shoot at something. So maybe not such an awful decision to fire.

      But since you didn’t turn on your body camera, we’ll never know.

      1. “If he was carrying it cocked and safety off in an ankle holster, he’s not only lucky he didn’t shoot his foot off, he’s an idiot.”

        Goddammit.
        He had an ankle holster.
        His gun was cocked and safety off when found.

        At no point does anyone know or state or even infer that he walked around with a cocked gun in his ankle holster.

    2. It would be a lot easier to buy if the cops would stop acting so goddamned squirrely.

    3. I don’t know about “clearly visible.” It could be an ankle holster I guess.

  18. RE: HIT & RUN BLOG
    No Body Cam From Cop Who Killed Keith Scott Because He Didn’t Turn It On
    Most fatal police shootings since Charlotte rolled out body cameras have not been recorded on them.

    Thank God the body cam wasn’t on.
    Otherwise we might know the truth about what happened in Charlotte.
    What a horrible precedent that would be!

  19. How can we trust them to investigate if they don’t even know how to use their equipment. Too incompetent to operate a camera, too incompetent to have your word trusted at trial.

    Also, if you’ve gone to that Bulletproof murderschool or a similar thing it’s assumed to be a bad shoot unless you can prove otherwise.

  20. A Los Angeles Police Department narcotics officer was killed today serving a high risk warrant…

    1. Cry me a river.

  21. His dog ate his homework? I am assuming the camera was working fine like all the others.

  22. Would it be technically feasible to have a integral gun camera so that when the officer fires there is a recording of the actual shooting and what the shooting victim looks like when they are shot?

    1. Looks like it already exists:
      http://www.policemag.com/chann…..amera.aspx

    2. A bullet cam would be more metal tho.

  23. Would it be technically feasible to have a integral gun camera so that when the officer fires there is a recording of the actual shooting and what the shooting victim looks like when they are shot?

  24. Why, in the name of all the gods, can they turn them off?

    Why aren’t they switched and locked on at the beginning of a shift and switched off at the end of it?

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