That is the question that is on everyone’s mind. The NYPD decided to release bodycam footage of an officer-involved shooting rather early on in the investigation. There is immense pressure on police executives all over the nation to release these videos. Yes, transparency is important between the police and the public, but it shouldn’t jeopardize cases nor violate due process. The last time I checked, police officers were still American citizens entitled to the same Due Process Rights as everyone else.
No Policies and Procedures
Police departments all across the country were forced with adopting Bodycam en masse. There was no plan, policy or procedure. What should be done with them? How should they handle the myriad of problems that come with them? If you are a police executive, you should ensure that you have a written policy and procedure on how the videos will be disseminated, when they will be and who gets to see them. Part of this equation must be the district attorney since they are the ones tasked with investigating these incidents. As more of these cams hit the streets, the more this will become an issue.
I did an interview with ABC Channel 7, New York, Eyewitness News about this case:
The Wolf is at the Door
Whatever they decide, police chiefs can’t win. Mark my words, the first time the police release a video that damages a case, the same group of activists will scream why did you do it? Chiefs are never going to satisfy the activists – they will keep on demanding more from feckless policticans. If they release a video because the police did such a great job, like NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said in the interview above, then what happens when they don’t release one? A process of “selective release” is not a good idea. I think it will cause rampant speculation and screams of ‘coverup.’ That maybe most dangerous plan of all.