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Why Body Cameras Won't Stop Police Brutality: Cops Turn Off, Hide, 'Lose' or 'Classify' Video Whenever It Suits Them

State Police Won't Release Dashcam Video of Officer Shooting

Officer Justin Craven.
By Jeffrey Collins
When a white police officer in South Carolina chased a black man nine miles by car, then shot him to death in his driveway last year, the shooting apparently was captured on the officer's dashboard camera — a video that state police have steadfastly refused to release.
RELATED STORY: Cop Shoots an Unarmed Man in the Head After Turning Off Her Bodycam — The "Officer" Appeared to be Psychotic and Homicidal
North Augusta officer Justin Craven tried to pull 68-year-old Ernest Satterwhite over for drunken driving, then followed him with blue lights to his home after Satterwhite refused to stop in February 2014, authorities said. When Satterwhite stopped in his driveway, Craven ran up to his car and fired several shots through the closed door, telling deputies later that Satterwhite tried to grab his gun, according to a report from Edgefield County deputies who joined the chase after it crossed the county line.

Now Craven faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of misconduct in office and discharging a firearm into an occupied vehicle. A prosecutor sought to indict him for voluntary manslaughter which carries guaranteed prison time and a maximum sentence of 30 years, but a grand jury refused.
RELATED STORY: Video Didn’t Save Eric Garner — Body Cameras Won’t Save You

Craven's dashcam video has been shown to a few people outside of law enforcement. Several who saw say say it's horrible and offensive, and Satterwhite had no time to respond to Craven. They won't speak on the record because they have been threatened with legal action since the video hasn't been publicly released.

The State Law Enforcement Division's decision to withhold the video contrasts with its handling of another police shooting. Earlier this year the agency quickly released a dashcam video of a case in which a white officer shot an unarmed black man in North Charleston.

SLED says its reasoning is simple. Unlike the North Augusta case, the North Charleston shooting happened away from the dashcam video.

SLED Chief Mark Keel worries releasing the North Augusta video could hamper the officer's right to a fair trial.

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What Good Are Cameras, If Police Can Label Recordings 'Confidential' and Keep Them Hidden for Two Years?

New Footage Shows Violent 2013 Arrest of Black Delaware Man

During an "investigation" the vicious cop was placed on paid leave but a grand jury "declined" to indict. The cop was finally placed on unpaid leave on May 4, 2015. 

By Megan Specia
Dash cam footage that captured the violent 2013 arrest of a 30-year-old black man by a Dover, Delaware, police officer was deemed no longer confidential by a federal judge and posted to the Dover Police Department's YouTube channel on Thursday.

The video shows the man, Lateef Dickerson, being stopped by two police officers on Aug. 24, 2013. As he lowers himself to the ground, submitting to the officers' calls to do just that, one of the police officers kicks the man directly in the head.

His yellow hat goes flying and Dickerson falls to the pavement unconscious, his jaw broken.

Webster arrested Dickerson after a large fight at a gas station. Dickerson fled on foot but appeared to be cooperating with police when they ordered him to the ground.

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Records Show Seattle Police Lost Thousands of Dashcam Recordings

ByTracy Vedder
It's just one example of why KOMO News is suing the Seattle Police Department for not releasing public records that citizens are supposed to be able to see. We spent more than a year investigating the department and fighting, on the public's behalf, for access to police videos and the department's video catalogue. As part of that investigation we discovered the missing videos.

Eric Rachner's run in with the police shows why these videos are so important.

"Go ahead and turn around, put your hands behind your back," a police officer is heard saying on video recorded by an SPD dash camera.

It was October 2008 when Seattle Police were called to the city's Capitol Hill neighborhood after someone was hit with a Nerf golf ball.

On the video you can see the victim walk up and describe the suspect to a group of officers with Rachner standing right in front of him.

Though the victim clearly does not identify Rachner, police arrest him anyway for refusing to show his identification. On the video the officer can be heard explaining to Rachner, "you refused to, so I put you in handcuffs for the crime of obstructing."

"I knew I wasn't doing anything wrong," Rachner said. "They knew I didn't do anything wrong. And yet, in spite of that, there I was sitting on the curb in handcuffs."

Certain of his innocence and convinced the police dashcam videos would prove it, Rachner, who works in cyber security, made numerous requests for the videos.

Though we have the videos now, at the time Rachner was told they'd all been destroyed.

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Teen Killed By Cops With 16 Bullets — Family Gets $5 Million: But Cops Still Refuse To Release Dash Cam Video

Laquan McDonald was hit with a barrage of 16 police bullets. Many entered his back.
Laquan McDonald was hit with a barrage of 16 police bullets. Many entered his back.

By The Free Thought Project
Aldermen approved a $5 million settlement to be granted to the family of a teen shot 16 times by Chicago police last October, but insisted on keeping the dashboard camera footage of the shooting away from the public.

This came from the autopsy of 17 y/o #LaquanMcDonald. All from one officer. Laquan was 15-20 feet away. pic.twitter.com/EpKJRKr5QZ

— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) April 15, 2015
The City Council voted 47-0 on Wednesday to pre-empt a federal lawsuit by paying the family of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, shot by a Chicago police officer on October 20, 2014. Legal counsel for the city Stephen Patton told reporters that lawyers for the family initially sought $16 million.
RELATED STORY: Teen Shot 16 Times By Cop and Killed - Cops Claimed Victim 'Lunged With A Knife' — Video Showed Otherwise, FBI Investigating
According to Patton, dashboard camera recording of the shooting was crucial to the decision. However, the police have refused to release the footage to the public. Mayor Rahm Emanuel said that the Chicago PD and the FBI are withholding the video because it was “central to their investigation” of the shooting.

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The Police Body Cam Sham: Denver Cops Fail to Use Mandated Body Cams 75% of the Time — Wonder Why?

Body cams don't help if you don't turn them on.
Photo - NPR.org
By Terrell Jermaine Starr
Body cams are suppose to help increase accountability of the police to the public, but they’re useless if the cops don’t turn them on.

Denver police officers turned on their body cameras just once out of every four use-of-force incidents during its 6-month pilot program that concluded in December, according to the Denver Post. Denver's independent police monitor Nick Mitchell said in a report that there were many cases where officers punched people, used pepper spray or use Tasers that went unrecorded because cameras weren’t turned on or malfunctions occurred.

Of the 80 use-of-force cases filed by officers, only 21 were recorded. Thirty-five of those cases involved sergeants and other supervisors or officers working off-duty assignments; ironically, none of those groups were required to wear body cameras.

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After Shooting Teen 16 Times, Police Destroyed 86 Minutes of Video From a Nearby Burger King Surveillance Camera

After a Chicago police officer shot a 17-year-old boy 16 times, police destroyed 86 minutes of video from a nearby Burger King surveillance camera, the restaurant’s manager said.

And they have yet to release dashcam footage of the shooting, even though it was damaging enough to prompt the city to pay a $5 million settlement to the family of Laquan McDonald even before they filed a lawsuit.

On October 20, 2014, McDonald was followed through the parking lot of the Burger King shortly before he was killed by Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke, the only one of the six police officers present that night who opened fire. The video from the restaurant would not have depicted the actual shooting, but would have shown the moments leading up to it.

Jay Darshane, the manager of the Burger King, told NBC Chicago and MSNBC that he thinks police detectives deleted the video after he told his employees to give them the password and allow them to access it. He said that the cameras were turned on and working properly during the night of the shooting.
“We had no idea they were going to sit there and delete files,” he said. “I mean we were just trying to help the police officers.”

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Denver Ex-Cop Says He Was Fired for Refusing to Destroy Video Evidence of Abuse of Inmate

The experience of Brent Miller proves that "honest cops" don't last long in corrupt police departments. (Photo from CBS)
The experience of Brent Miller proves that "honest cops" don't last long in corrupt police departments. (Photo from CBS)

By Brian Maass
CBS4 has learned that an internal investigation is underway into the interim head of the Denver Sheriff Department, Elias Diggins, and the captain in charge of the Denver Sheriff’s Internal Affairs Bureau after an internal affairs investigator blew the whistle, saying he was ordered to destroy a videotape that showed an inmate being humiliated and degraded.


Miller said he was assigned to investigate several complaints filed by jail inmate Christopher Colbruno. Earlier this month, he was assigned yet another case involving Colbruno. Sheriff’s deputies were transporting Colbruno to Denver Health Medical Center for medical attention, but at some point Colbruno defecated on himself and his jail clothing. Before entering the hospital , deputies removed Colbruno’s clothing and walked him through hospital hallways wearing only handcuffs, but no clothing.

Personnel at Denver Health Medical Center felt the inmate had been subjected to inhumane and degrading treatment by being forced to walk nude through the hospital hallways so they filed a complaint with the Denver Sheriff Department. The complaint was assigned to Miller. On May 11, Miller and a second investigator traveled to Denver Health Medical Center to obtain a copy of hospital videotape showing Colbruno in the hospital.

When he returned to his office with the tape, Miller said he was approached by Captain Paul Ortega, who leads the Sheriff Department’s internal affairs bureau.

“He asked me if I had uploaded this video yet and I told him I had not and told me,’good, don’t do that because they’re making that go away, it’s not going to be a case anymore.’”

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