Coming into focus: Police body camera program works, when NYPD isn't sabotaging it
Added 02-27-20 04:25:03am EST - “Here's the good news: Video from body cameras worn by NYPD officers throughout the five boroughs over the last three years is proving an important transparency tool and an invaluable aid to investigators evaluating citizen complaints…” - Nydailynews.com
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Here’s the good news: Video from body cameras worn by NYPD officers throughout the five boroughs over the last three years is proving an important transparency tool and an invaluable aid to investigators evaluating citizen complaints about cop misbehavior.
A new Civilian Complaint Review Board report shows the recordings are helping CCRB investigators close complaint cases that were once near-impossible to solve, corroborating or contradicting all-too fallible human testimony.
Without body cameras, CCRB investigators substantiated just 13% of complaints against police. With cameras, the substantiation rate more than doubled, to 31%. With the cameras, investigators exonerated 30% of complaints. Without, the exoneration rate stood at just 20%.
The bad news: The NYPD is dragging out responding to CCRB requests for that vital evidence and increasingly redacting what video they do turn over. Per the CCRB, by mid-2019, 63% of all video it was receiving was censored in some way or another.
The NYPD could have purchased body cameras that automatically turn on when officers draw firearms or Tasers, but opted for manual models instead. That was a mistake that lets human error proliferate: Cops sometimes activate cameras too late, shut them off too quickly or neglect to activate them altogether. CCRB even documented cases where police shut off cameras mid-arrest when misconduct was clearly taking place.
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