Police warning each other about body cam recordings

I recently saw a video of a police shooting in which the officers repeatedly warned their fellow officers that they were recording. It struck me as odd, and suspicious. A bit like ‘Hey, I’m recording, so don’t act like your normal, shitbag selves. Make sure to put on a good performance for the camera.’ Is that just my anti-police bias reading too much into it? Is there a good reason for doing this, or is it, as it appears to me, just an effort by the ‘blue wall’ to help their ‘brothers’ avoiding recording their questionable actions / statements?

Here is the video I am referring to. (WARNING: it’s a bit graphic - a man is shot, and later on you can see him bleeding, and there are some curse words)

There are some other things that strike me as odd about the situation too. @16:40 one of the officers claims that the gunshot wound [“GSW”] was “self-inflicted”, but a couple of minutes later he says “I don’t know who fired.” They seem oddly very concerned with covering and clearing the house, and seem to spend at least as much time trying to reach FOP (presumably a police union that would assist the officers through the post-shooting proceedings) as emergency medical care for the shootee. I get the sense that the officers are far better trained to handle themselves appropriately in a post-shooting environment fraught with potential legal danger than in an encounter with a person suffering a psychotic episode, but by far the most frustrating part to me is the constant warnings to others that the body cam was running. Why are they doing this?

I’d be particularly interested to hear from our resident lawyers. Is this just good practice, protecting the rights of themselves and their co-workers?

I don’t know. It seems to me that police warning each other that they’re being recorded would ensure that their conduct is on the up-and-up, which is kind of the whole point of body cameras.

I’d like to think it wasn’t necessary. I don’t, but I’d like to.

Sure about this? I mean, it does get warm in North Carolina, especially with those uniforms…

Going out on a limb here, but perhaps they are worried about some guy on the internet parsing everything they do for the slightest flaw and doing the whole Monday morning quarterback thingy? I mean, I know it’s a stretch, but there are a few people out there who do stuff like that…

Then perhaps they’d do better in a career with less public scrutiny, and less need and power to make life-and-death decisions?

ETA: if it makes you feel better, I don’t really have any issue with the use of force itself. It seemed to be justified by the circumstances

I don’t claim to be “sure” about very much, but I’m reasonably confident that state of their body cameras and microphones was the subject of their comments quoted in the OP.

What you posted makes it sound like they’re doing the work it takes to keep themselves in line.

It also makes it sound like it takes a whole lot of effort to keep themselves in line.

Or are better able to do and say things that are less likely to be picked apart by random guys on the internet who have lots of time on their hands to parse through every second of a video while munching on some popcorn and sipping a soda and thinking they could do so much better.

Come back when you are wearing a camera like that yourself in a stressful situation and have to worry about whether your fly was undone or you scratched your ass just before some situation you didn’t know about beforehand blew up and everyone in the world got to see it because the video was released to the public.

Fuck that. I resent the idea that we can’t or shouldn’t scrutinize the actions of government officials.

And it’s not even the “situation you didn’t know about beforehand blew up” that I’m criticizing here. It’s the “I’m hot” comments to practically everything wearing a badge that approached either of them afterwards that I’m concerned about.

Um…you obviously CAN, since, you know, you started a thread on it and linked to the video. You are complaining that these police aren’t acting up to your standards, remember?

:stuck_out_tongue: Have you ever been in the military? Seriously, whining and complaining are what is setting you off here? The fact that these guys are acting like, well, a bunch of guys who are hot and uncomfortable concerns you? I’d be more worried if they were as smooth and polished as you seem to want them to be.

I agree. And I think that it’s absolutely a way of “warning” other officers that everybody is being recorded, so be circumspect about how you act or what you say.

It shouldn’t be too surprising. Regardless of how justified the use of force may ultimately prove to be, I think it’s reasonable to expect a cop, as soon as an altercation ended, to immediately begin thinking about how to describe the incident in a way that justifies their behavior. This is not nefarious: it’s just natural, given that they will have to justify their behavior later.

And given how ambiguous the real world often is, it is not surprising that the officers act quite deliberate in their actions and words so as to minimize any basis to find them at fault.

It’s the reason that I think officers should not be able to turn off their body cams. Yes, I get that some footage would be personal and/or irrelevant, but I think it’s far more important to avoid situations where cameras go black at the most important evidentiary moments. Even if the camera stops for innocent reasons, the appearance of impropriety makes it a problem.

Wait, you believe that “I’m hot” is a reference to the temperature? That it’s a declaration that the officers are really warm?

That seemed to be your implication. I didn’t watch the video for the reasons you warned folks about the content…I wasn’t interested in seeing some guy shot and bleeding out. I assume from your comment here that ‘I’m hot’ actually means that their cameras are on.

I still don’t see your concern…seems a natural reaction to all of the press that’s been happening about police video coupled with the fact that, almost certainly the lapel cameras are a fairly new addition to their department and they are trying to get a handle on being in the public’s eye where someone like you can parse through the video at leisure to pick apart everything they do and say that you find wrong.

Yeah, because there are literally dozens of time when an officer catches shit because they were caught on video doing everything right but their fly was down or they scratched their ass. Oh, wait, no there aren’t. There are literally dozens of videos where officers are caught shooting people dead for specious reasons and testilying up an alibi. Plenty of those out there, for sure.

No, it wasn’t my implication, but as long as we both understand “I’m hot” as references to their body cameras and microphones, we’re good on that point.

My concern is that the officers may be acting one way on-camera and a different (presumably worse) way off-camera.

Dozens of such videos? :dubious:

You are not differentiating between what police worry about and what has been released to the public. I actually have some experience with this, since recently several of my counties police units have in fact gone to lapel cameras as well as cameras in the squad cars…and, in fact, I’ve seen instances where police officers had their cameras on while going to the bathroom or other fairly embarrassing things. I can and have seen police reminding other police that the cameras are rolling and ‘hot’ because they are so new and folks are still getting used to the idea.

My main beef with these cameras is purely technical (and budgetary)…I don’t have any real issue with them other than that, and while I think there is an adjustment period needed for people to get used to them, it’s similar to the one people are getting used to while streaming video in any situation.

They probably are. They probably do and say things off camera that they wouldn’t want on camera, especially a camera feed that everyone on the internet could potentially see. My guess is you wouldn’t do or say some things on camera that you would off either, and I’m quite sure I wouldn’t either.

You don’t seem very concerned by that. Am I misreading you?

The evidence is also consistent with the hypothesis that most cops are good but a few are bad, and that the majority of good cops are trying to make sure that the few bad cops stay on good behavior.