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San Diego police promises probe into body camera failure in fatal shooting

On Behalf of | May 8, 2015 | Firm News |

The police should be held to high standards of professionalism.  They receive good pay and healthy benefits.  Part of being a profesional is to follow the procedures your command has set up.  The camera should be the officers friend.  Is it someone looking over them or full on proof to their superiors that they do a kick ass job?

I am interested to see if anything becomes of this investigation.  I know San Diego Police is working out its procedures with the body worn cameras (BWCs) as it integrates it into its ranks.  I hope wrinkles like this get ironed out.

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San Diego’s police chief promised on Thursday to conduct an investigation into why a body camera worn by a police officer was turned off when he shot and killed an Afghan immigrant last month.

Police Officer Neal N. Browder shot 42-year-old Fridoon Rawshannehad on April 30 after the man failed to obey commands and continued to advance on the officer, a police statement said.

Browder, a police officer for 27 years, had responded to a midnight call from an adult bookstore reporting that a man with a knife was threatening people inside and outside the establishment.

But Browder did not record the ensuing interaction, according to Homicide Lieutenant Mike Hastings. That appears to be contrary to department policy, which requires officers to record all “enforcement contacts.”

The incident comes amid a series of fatal police confrontations across the country that have put law-enforcement agencies under scrutiny over the use of lethal force, especially against minorities, the poor and the mentally ill.

San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman said she did not know why the encounter was not recorded, and promised a full investigation. In the past, she has indicated that officers who do not use body cameras according to department policy would be disciplined.

“In any officer-involved shooting, we conduct a very methodical, comprehensive and thorough investigation, and that question will be answered during the investigation,” she said in a statement.

The San Diego Police Department began using body cameras in June 2014, and had 600 such devices in use by October. The department said in March that both citizen complaints and use of force incidents had dropped 30 to 56 percent in neighborhoods where cameras were being used.

Kellen Russoniello, staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of San Diego and Imperial Counties, said the officer’s failure to turn on the camera left doubt about what really happened.

“This is an instance where most assuredly the camera should have been on, even before the interaction began, because the officer knew from the call it was an enforcement contact,” Russoniello said. “If they find the officer intentionally left it off, he should be disciplined.”

The full article can be found here.

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