This Is Why Cops Need Body Cameras

FILE - In this Jan. 15, 2014 file photo a Los Angeles Police officer wears an on-body camera during a demonstration in Los Angeles. An agreement with Boston's largest police union to have 100 officers wear body cameras was praised as a step toward greater accountability. But with the Sept. 1, 2016, rollout date for the pilot program approaching, not a single officer had volunteered to wear one. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

Over the past few years there have been several high profile police shooting cases, some real and some concocted by the Obama administration’s allies as part of their ongoing attack on police everywhere. From these events has arisen a drive to make body cams a mandatory item for police officers. Some police unions are actively fighting the use of body cams. The argument I’ve heard against it from friends who are in law enforcement is that the cameras can’t record what the officer is thinking and can present a distorted view of reality. I understand that argument but I find it a lot less than persuasive. Because for every cop who “might” have trouble explaining how their thought processes worked in relation to a video there is at least one case like this where a person is beaten or killed for no good reason:

 

Walter Scott shooting from The Post and Courier on Vimeo.

But this week a body cam prevented more #BLM hysteria in Baltimore.

A Baltimore detective was following, yes, following, a car in West Baltimore (which is pretty much where The Wire was filmed) when one of the occupants jumped out and started running away. The detective gave chase. The runner pulled a pistol, the detective shot him. As it turned out the dead man was 18-year-old Curtis Deal. He was pending THIRTEEN firearms and drug charges he had accumulated since January 4, but was free on $250,000 unsecured bond. Thirteen firearms and drug charges within thirty days and he was basically free on his own recognizance.

This is the video.

The slow-motion action picks up at 0:54. [note: the Daily Mail video is no longer compatible with our version of WordPress.}

This is the result:

Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said the shooting was justified and praised Kincaid for his bravery, the Baltimore Sun reported.

And in the wake of the teen’s death, questions were raised about why Deal – who had been arrested three times on gun or drug charges in the previous month – was out on the street.

‘It shows dysfunction, I believe, in our criminal justice system,’ said Mayor Catherine Pugh. ‘People who have those many gun charges probably should not be on our streets.’

Had this video not been available it doesn’t take a genius to see how the story would have played out. White cop. Predominantly black neighborhood. Poor black “child.” Shot without provocation. Gun planted on his body. Police brutality. Trump to blame. Rent-a-riot participants would have been on the way before Deal reached room temperature. The detective, instead of being commended by the police chief and the mayor wondering aloud what the hell the judge was thinking, would have been facing a fairly hostile investigation by the same prosecutor’s office that handled the failed Freddy Gray trials and would have probably been out to redeem itself in the eyes of “the community.”

As we get more and more experience with both police car dash cams and with body cams it is getting harder and harder to argue that opposition to them is much more than an excuse to cover for bad cops.