This past December 21, we posted a story regarding the latest APD officer involved shooting where a fleeing burglary suspect had his rear window shot out as he outwitted and outlasted the leadership of APD’s elite SWAT team.
In the hours following the suspect’s escape, APD spokeswoman Tasia Martinez stated, “…As Sosa drove at Officer White, Officer White fired his weapon at the charging vehicle in effort to prevent the suspect from running him over.”
While our Eyes tell us such an action is in violation of APD procedures and use of force rules (because after all, shooting the driver won’t stop the car---basic Newtonian physics here folks: an object in motion tends to stay in motion) what surprises us even more is APD’s chief and his newly minted deputy chief’s effort to twist and distort their very own actions.
This past weekend, APD Deputy Chief, Steve Warfield, went on the offensive to assert Schultz’s new policy regarding the loathed lapel-cameras. It seems the policy for the cameras is: whatever is convenient at the moment. So despite the department being under the scrutiny of a DOJ investigation, and while the department is dealing with a SWAT activation where a felon barricaded himself inside, and despite the high likelihood of the use of deadly force…it is now OK to use “officer discretion” as to use their lapel cameras or not. And now, as stated by DCOP Warfield, even though there were over thirty officers at the Shirley NE address, and nobody had their cameras on, Warfield confirms the cameras rarely capture what is necessary…..um OK; liar.
Back in 2010 when the lapel cameras started to make their appearance we posed that the devices not only were going to have a chilling effect upon the work officers do and the citizens they contact, but would also be problematic in court.
Our Eyes now tell us, case after case is getting thrown out in court because officer’s lapel cameras are recording only partial snippets of an encounter. Partial snippets are inadmissible as evidence because, among other things, they fail the “completeness” rule. Now thanks to DCOP Warfield and Schultz it seems there is no consistent policy as to when the cameras are to be used...no wonder officers expressed confusion about this issue in the recent survey!
From DCOP Warfield:
“The lapel was never meant to replace the police report.”
“These officers made excellent decision making ability.”
So what we’re left with is:
Shots Fired + No Video=Good
Taser/Physical Force + Video=Bad