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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Emeryville Police Shoot Woman, Body Camera Turned Off

From KGO News:

 Emeryville Officer Who Killed Shoplifting Woman was Wearing Body Cam, Had it Turned Off
(KGO) - An Emeryville police officer is now on administrative leave after fatally shooting a woman who was involved in a shoplifting incident outside an Emeryville Home Depot. Allegedly, the woman took off on foot after robbing the store and was pursued by two officers into Oakland. One of the officers alleged that the woman pointed a revolver at them, and the officers proceeded to fire seven rounds at the woman, killing her. 
The city of Emeryville had purchased 50 body cameras last month to be worn by officers on duty, and one of the officers involved in the shooting was wearing a body cam at the time. However, he claims he forgot to turn the camera on until after the woman had been killed.
Emeryville police chief Ken James says that the officer may have forgotten to switch on the camera because they are so new to the department that the officers have not yet been trained on how to use them. 
He said, "we have not deployed body cameras as a department-wide program at this point. The one officer that had the camera on was part of our field testing of the body cameras. As a result, we did not have a policy in place of when to activate it and when not to activate it."
Police chief James says that he hopes the footage will still be useful in the investigation. It has been turned over to Oakland police because the shooting occurred in their jurisdiction.

Officer involved in Monday shooting had body cam turned off

New Orleans Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas said the late release of information about an officer-involved shooting was a "snafu" and mistake on the part of the police department, for which he accepts full responsibility.
Officer Lisa Lewis fired a weapon during a traffic stop Monday, striking suspect Armand Bennett, 26, in the head. Serpas the shots were fired following a scuffle between the two. However, the NOPD did not disclose the shooting to the public until Wednesday evening.
New Orleans police said Officer Lisa Lewis got into a fight with a man during a traffic stop on Mimosa Court in Algiers. During the altercation, she shot 26-year-old Armand Bennet in the forehead.
Bennet's attorney, Nandi Campbell, said her client never resisted, and she claims the officer fired a second shot at her client as he ran away.
The officer's attorney countered that Lewis had turned her body camera off because her shift was about to end and she was on her way back to the Fourth District station when she initiated the traffic stop that led to the shooting.
"What good is the camera if officers are able to take them off and just put them on the side?" Campbell asked. "There's supposed to be some sort of checks and balances, so if we have an officer who has no problems shooting at a man two times. Why should I be surprised that she took the camera off? I'm not surprised at all."
It's unclear yet if there's any other video from the scene.
"We want the officers to wear body cameras when they're engaged with somebody in the public, and we know many times that is going to happen and sometimes things happen very fast and they might not be able to," according to NOPD Chief Ronal Serpas. "But I don't know yet. I haven't seen this case."
Serpas said Lewis and the suspect had gotten into a scuffle a week before Monday's incident, and Bennett got away. He said that prompted the NOPD to issue four different warrants for Bennet, which led to Monday's stop.
The shooting and the events that led up to it are under investigation.

Ferguson Police Officer's Body Camera Turned Off During Shooting
Local police continue to search today for a suspect who wounded a Ferguson police officer Saturday night, but now authorities say the incident involved only one person and that it appears no burglary took place.

Local police continue to search today for a suspect who wounded a Ferguson police officer Saturday night, but now authorities say the incident involved only one person and that it appears no burglary took place.
Police also confirmed today that the wounded officer had a body camera, but that it was turned off during the incident.
St. Louis County Police Sgt. Brian Schellman, a police spokesman, said he did not know why the camera was off.
Ferguson police officers began wearing body cameras on Aug. 31, three weeks after a white police officer, Darren Wilson, fatally shot Michael Brown Jr., an unarmed black teenager.
Police originally reported late Saturday night that the officer spotted two suspects trying to break into a business and that when confronted, one of them pulled a gun and fired at the officer, wounding him in the arm.
Police, however, now are describing a different scenario: that the police officer, during a business check, saw a male subject in the rear of the Ferguson Community Center. When he approached, the person began to run and the officer followed on foot. During the pursuit, the man spun around and fired at the officer, who was hit in the left arm, before disappearing in the wooded area behind the center.
The officer was treated and released from a local hospital today.
Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson and St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar were originally told that the incident involved two suspects at the time they provided statements to the press Saturday night, but later detectives confirmed it was only one individual, Schellman said.
Schellman also said that police did not have any more details on suspect's description.
The earlier story:
FERGUSON -- A Ferguson police officer was shot Saturday night. The officer, a man, survived the shooting, authorities said.
The shooting occurred in the 1000 block of Smith Avenue in Ferguson, near the new Ferguson Community Center.
Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson said Saturday night that the officer was on routine patrol and spotted two suspects trying to break into a business. He said the business was in Ferguson.
When the officer confronted the suspects, Jackson said, one of them pulled a gun and fired at the officer. The officer was struck once in the arm, and was expected to be OK.
At a news conference near the Ferguson Police Department early Sunday, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar gave the same account of the shooting as Jackson.
He added that police fired at the suspects at some point during the altercation. But there is no evidence that they were hit. "We have no indication either suspect was shot," Belmar said.
Belmar said he doesn't believe the incident was linked to the Ferguson protests, and that he knew of no other incidents Saturday night.
In the background, chants could be heard from protesters, including, "We are going to shut this down!"
Many in the group of roughly 100 expressed skepticism at the police account of the shooting.
Dozens of police cars from numerous jurisdictions converged on the area after the shooting. The shooter is reported to have fled into nearby woods.
Police established a staging area near the St. Peters Evangelical Church of Christ on West Florissant Avenue.
Officers are still searching for the shooter, according to St. Louis County Police.
The shooting came at the end of another week of protests, arrests and violence since the Aug. 9 shooting of Michael Brown by Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson.
Authorities had hoped to avoid further confrontations by canceling the weekly Ferguson Farmers Market on Saturday to prevent a repeat of last week's encounters between protesters and marketgoers.
Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson issued a video Thursday in which he apologized directly to Brown's family and to protesters who felt the police mishandled the protests that followed. But the move seemed to reignite protesters calling for Jackson's firing, and tension increased.
Christine Byers, Nick Pistor, Steve Giegerich and Denise Hollinshed of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.

St. Louis officer under fire for turning off dashcam video during arrest

By AnneClaire Stapleton, Sonia Moghe and Dana Ford, CNN

Updated 5:46 PM ET, Wed February 18, 2015

(CNN)A St. Louis man has filed a lawsuit alleging excessive force in a case that involves an officer turning off a dashcam that was recording the man's arrest.
At one point in the video from the dashcam, a female officer can be heard saying: "Hold up, everybody, hold up. We're red right now so if you guys are worried about cameras just wait."
The phrase "we're red right now" indicates that a camera is recording.
A second dashcam continued to record.
Video of the April arrest shows officers stopping a vehicle being driven by Cortez Bufford, whose car roughly matched the description of one possibly involved in an area shooting.
As officers approached the vehicle, they ordered Bufford and his passenger to show their hands. They did.
According to the police report, one officer smelled marijuana and saw what looked to be plastic baggies full of a leafy green substance.
The passenger was ordered from the vehicle, and he was handcuffed without incident.
Bufford was also ordered to exit the vehicle, but he refused and became increasingly agitated, according to the report. He was then removed.
While officers attempted to place him in handcuffs, one saw the handle of a handgun sticking out of Bufford's right front pocket. According to the report, Bufford was seen reaching for the weapon.
The video then shows officers kicking Bufford while he is on the ground. According to his suit, Bufford suffered abrasions to his fingers, face, back, head, ears and neck. He was handcuffed after an officer used a Taser on him.
A loaded handgun was later removed from Bufford's pocket.
An attorney representing the city and the police department defended the officers' actions in the arrest, while condemning the officer who turned off the dashcam, which is against department policy.
"The officers were not acting out of line at any time during the arrest. The person involved in this altercation had a semi-automatic gun, and the officers were protecting themselves and the public. They did what had to be done to protect themselves," Winston Calvert told CNN.
He said the use of force and the dashcam issues are separate. The officer who shut off the dashcam video was referred to an internal affairs department, Calvert said.
"The city's Police Department has a policy on the use of dash cameras and other cameras, and the Police Department special order says the cameras should be left on until the event is concluded. When we saw that an officer had violated that policy, it was very disappointing," he said. "The internal affairs recommended discipline for the officer, which is what happened."
Because the case is still open to appeal, Calvert declined to say what the punishment was. He said the officer, who he identified as Kelli Swinton, remains on the job while her appeal is underway. A call to the officer's lawyer was not returned.
Attorney Joel Schwartz, who represents Bufford, is urging reform.
All of the charges against his client have been dismissed. According to a statement from St. Louis prosecutor Jennifer M. Joyce, the "action of turning off the dash camera video diminished the evidentiary merits of the case."
"I don't think an officer on the scene should have the capability to stop the camera from rolling. Otherwise it defeats the entire purpose of having body cameras and/or dashcams," Schwartz said.

Utah officer who shot Darrien Hunt wore body cam, but it was turned off.

Saratoga Springs • Responding to newly released reports that a police officer involved in the fatal shooting of 22-year-old Darrien Hunt was wearing a body camera — which apparently was not turned on at the time — protesters on Friday decried Hunt's death and said it was hard to believe anything the police say about the episode.
The protesters wore bull's-eyes on their backs while shouting, "Stop killing our kids," "Stop violating the law," and "Don't shoot us in the back."
The rally, consisting of about three dozen people, took place outside the Saratoga Springs Police Department, but a handful of protesters moved to stand just inside the building's doors. People driving by honked in apparent support of the protesters.

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