A police force that’s faced a barrage of misconduct allegations and concerns about its internal controls wants you to trust those controls as it outfits officers with body cameras.
About 300 San Diego officers are now mandated to record arrests and enforcement-related interactions with the public and the police department plans to equip all its officers with cameras by the end of next year.
But Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman, who has been a proponent of the camera program amid misconduct and racial profiling scandals in an effort to increase the public’s trust, said Tuesday night the footage they collect likely won’t be released to the public anytime soon.
“The video footages are considered evidence,” Zimmerman said during a panel discussion organized by the San Diego chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. “And at this point, in the policy, I don’t plan to release any of the video with it because it is considered evidence.”
Legal experts have said SDPD could legally keep the video footage private indefinitely, even after an investigation wraps.
The department’s policy was revealed when Voice of San Diego requested footage from two police shootings this spring. The department didn’t release the videos, citing ongoing investigations.
Support Independent Journalism Today
Videos can and will be defeated by clever manipulative prosecutors who wish to nullify the evidentiary value that they contain. In New York we had 5 fat cops involved in the take-down of a big fat guy. Four are given immunity in exchange for their testimony against the one who applied the choke-hold. The video shows some fat cops on top of the fat guy, pinning him to the ground, while one has the choke-hold applied,
The Grand Jury is asked if Pantaleo, the choke-holder, caused big Erics death. The video shows that Pantaleo AND others contributed to Garner's death. Moreover, big Eric suffered from asthma and a heart condition and his obesity was obvious.
Well played Mr. Prosecutor. That the Grand Jury could not conclude that Pantaleo ALONE caused Garner's death was a foregone and prosecutor-engineered conclusion.
The video that I would like to see is the one(s) associated with these 6 stops of this 25 year-old Black man at 1:50 AM
The chief says the department will review video footage. The police supervising the police is not sufficient as several recent cases show. The sunshine of public viewing should be shone on the department.
If anyone asks for the video clips I expect the department to claim everything is part of an ongoing investigation as they're claiming now when I asked for scans of my own license plate. That case is in the courts now. I suspect sometime will have to sue to get the department to do the right thing and make video publicly available.
The whole point of spending taxpayer money on these cameras is to show the public how the police act townrds
the public. The chief's attitude makes one suspicious about the Police Dept. What are they so anxious to hide ? If the photos are evidence in a case, the defense has the right to see it.So does the public. If there is no case, its not evidence-its public record.
That is a ridiculous position for the Chief to take. What is the footage evidence of exactly; crimes perhaps? If the video footage is evidence, it belongs before the Judge and Jury, and should be part of the public record (unless sealed), just like other evidence. If the video footage is not evidence, it should be subject to public records act requests.