Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

Police Body Cameras May Become Mandatory

Once again, we see police body cameras in the headlines. Now, they are gaining more appeal across the country. Ever since the Michael Brown case in Ferguson Missouri, in which a cop killed an unarmed youth, the topic has been gaining interest in communities throughout the nation. The fatal shooting of Michael Brown created weeks of community unrest. Some people feel that if the Ferguson police had been wearing body cameras, much of the community unrest would have been reduced and justice served more quickly. Furthermore, many people believe body cameras can reduce the use of excessive force and discriminatory arrest tactics used by some police officers. Individuals who feel their rights have been violated by police misconduct should consult an experienced criminal defense attorney.

What Does Law Enforcement Think About Police Body Cameras?

The Boston police chief touts the concept of police body cameras in policing. It may be just a matter of time before Boston and all cities across America make police body cameras mandatory in their departments. According to a nationwide survey conducted by PoliceOne and TASER International, a large majority of police officers across the nation feel there is a great need for body-worn cameras. The survey involved 785 federal, state, and local law enforcement professionals. Over 85% of them believe body-worn cameras reduce inaccurate claims of police brutality and misconduct and reduce the potential for litigation and lawsuits against the law enforcement agency. In 2012, the Rialto California Police Department was involved in a pilot camera deployment program. The department found a 60% reduction in use-of-force cases and an 88% reduction in citizen complaints.

How Will Police Body Cameras Affect Your Case?

Now, the information in the police report will have recorded video from the body camera that gives visual details of what actually happened during the arrest or police encounter. This will validate the information recorded in the police report. In an OUI or DUI case, if his report says the defendant was intoxicated, the recorded video can back up the claim or disprove it in court.

Body cameras are small devices that law enforcement can place on lapels, front pockets, or headgear. While most body cameras can record non-stop, many police departments keep them turned off to save storage space and do not record uneventful encounters. They instruct officers to turn on the cameras when they are approaching situations that may be suspicious or involve criminal activities. Some people believe that allowing police officers to turn on and off the body cameras can encourage selective recording. They can turn off the camera and not record information they do not wish to reveal in their police reports and arrests.

It seems that police body cameras may be used more during arrests in the future. Those arrested need to seek legal representatives who are knowledgeable in body camera evidence and how it can impact the defendant's case.

Where Can You Get Legal Help and Advice About Police Body Cameras?

If you are arrested for a criminal offense involving a police body camera, the consequences may be serious and life-changing. Boston Criminal Defense Attorney Edward Molari can provide you and your family with legal advice that might work to prevent the Commonwealth from proving its case. He can explain your rights and provide personalized legal services to help you. Contact Attorney, Edward Molari at 617-942-1532 for a free consultation.