The Sacramento Police Department has ordered officers to keep their body cameras and microphones on after criticism over the muting of footage minutes after the Stephon Clark shooting.
The Sacramento Police Department has ordered officers to keep their body cameras and microphones on after community members criticized the muting of footage minutes after the Stephon Clark shooting, the Sacramento Bee reports. The department sent a memo to rank-and-file officers saying they “shall not deactivate or mute their BWCs (body worn cameras) until the investigative or enforcement activity involving a member of the public has concluded.” The memo says cameras may be turned off when officers are discussing issues with a doctor or nurse, when victims refuse to give a statement while being recorded, or when the incident involves “sensitive circumstances” such as sexual assault.
Officers must say on camera why they are turning off the cameras before doing so, according to the memo. Police supervisors can also give approval for cameras to be turned off or muted. “We will continue to work through the development, review and vetting of an updated BWC policy and hope to have that completed soon,” the memo reads. “However, the current policy requires some immediate clarification and additions that cannot wait until the review process is complete.” Based on police footage, officers muted their body cams about six minutes after shooting Clark on March 18 as they began to discuss with other cops what transpired. That contributed to distrust among African Americans and activists after the incident.