Fatal police shooting in San Diego highlights inconsistent body cam usage

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LOS ANGELES (AP) – The critical moment when a gunman opened fire on two San Diego police officers, killing one, may never be seen. The surviving officer returned fire but only activated his camera after the wounded shooter was running away.

San Diego is among departments with policies calling for officers to turn on cameras before initiating contact with a citizen in most cases. But like other departments, compliance is less than perfect.

The result is inconsistent use of an increasingly common tool meant to give investigators and an often-skeptical public a fuller picture of police actions.

The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University’s School of Law says Chicago, Dallas, Denver, New Orleans, New York, Oakland and San Diego are among the cities that don’t specify penalties when officers fail to record.

The American Civil Liberties Union has studied the issue and said clear policies are vital, along with punishment for failure to comply.

 

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