Charly Keunang was a homeless Cameroonian immigrant who was unarmed and shot in killed by police officers earlier this year. After an altercation ensued between Keuang and multiple officers which resulted in Keunang being shot in the chest where he was pronounced dead at the scene. Two police officers were wearing body cameras at the time, however the policy that relates to the release of the footage is proving to be an obstacle.
The LAPD have a policy in place that does not force them to release body camera footage unless compelled by criminal or civil court proceedings. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has criticized this policy saying, “By withholding video from the public, requiring officers to review video before making statements in use-of-force and misconduct investigations and failing to include protections against the use of body-worn cameras as general surveillance tools, LAPD’s policy provides no transparency and threatens to taint the integrity of investigations and undermine the public trust.”
Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti, does not agree with the open release to body camera surveillance. He used a case of domestic violence saying that should not be shared publicly and, “We should not have a policy that says automatically that goes out to the public.”. Mayor Garcetti also worries about the impediment of an investigation because of the footage release.
For one step forward, there are two steps back. The concern is valid about releasing the entity of footage to the public, but when a life is lost at the hands of police officers there needs to be a policy in place that allows that to be shown, the secrecy of those tapes is a true impediment of an investigation.
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