Should Moonlighting Cops Wear Body Cameras?

A Cleveland police officer working at a bar killed a man who was attacking him after a fight. The shooting will likely be cited by a team monitoring a federal consent decree as evidence that officers should wear cameras while moonlighting.

Cleveland police have not said whether a moonlighting sergeant who shot and killed a man during a scuffle Saturday night was wearing a body camera. Still, the shooting highlights why body-camera proponents say officers should wear them on either on- or off-duty shifts, and why more police departments are requiring moonlighting officers to wear the cameras, reports In Cleveland, a fight broke out inside a bar, and employees kicked out the participants. Sgt. Dean Graziolli, who was moonlighting at the business, escorted them outside, but a 21-year-old man returned and attacked the sergeant a few steps from the front door, police said. Graziolli fired shots, killing the man.

Departmental policies did not require Graziolli to be wearing a camera. The shooting will likely be cited by a team monitoring the city’s progress under a consent decree with the Justice Department as evidence that officers should wear the cameras while moonlighting. The monitoring team pushed for such a requirement as the city has pointed to a decrease in citizen complaints against officers in the years since it required officers to wear cameras while on duty. Residents don’t know whether a uniformed officer is on or off duty when they see one, the monitoring team argues. Of the 97 departments that patrol the country’s most populous cities, 70 were using body cameras as of last fall or intended to roll them out soon. Of those, 42 said officers were required to wear the cameras during secondary uniformed details.