Just because hundreds of police departments across the country are spending thousands of dollars on officer-mounted cameras doesn’t mean we should expect more transparency.
On the contrary.
At least if the Oakland Police Department is any indicator.
Last month, an Oakland police officer wearing a camera on his uniform recorded himself killing a suspect, believed to the second such incident since cops started wearing cameras.
Police told the usual tale that the officer feared for his life as he struggled with an armed suspect, so he had no choice but to shoot and kill him.
But they haven’t even released the suspect’s name nor the officer’s name, even though the shooting took place more than two weeks ago.
They even went as far as intimidating the Alameda County Coroner’s Officer from releasing the suspect’s name.
At first, police told the media that they would not allow the officer to view the footage before filing his reports.
But then they told the media that they would allow the officer to view the video before filing his preliminary report, making one wonder just how much time do cops get before filing this report.
It is debatable whether to allow the officers to watch the video first. We want them to be accurate, so this might help them. But then we don’t want the video to change what they had planned to write.
But what is not debatable is that the video needs to be released to the public. Especially considering tensions are always running high between cops and citizens in Oakland.