Police agencies across the country have begun outfitting officers with the cameras as an attempt to regain the public’s trust back, and the SDPD is no exemption. However this is not enough. Last month, on April 30th SDPD was involved in yet another fatal shooting of an unarmed man, Fridoon Zalbeg Rawshannehad. The officer’s body cam was shut off prior to the shooting for unexplained reasons, and the incident is still being investigated by SDPD’s homicide unit. In the interim, the SDPD is still struggling to explain the shooting of an unarmed citizen, Victor Ortega, three years ago. In that case, Judge Burn’s denied SDPD’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit due to the inconsistencies of officer testimony.
Meanwhile, at least 20 proposals to regulate body cameras worn by cops, revamp the prosecution of deadly force cases, and impose other measures were made in the wake of national high-profile killings by police, and have been debated by California lawmakers. In Sacramento alone, legislators have introduced at least five measures pertaining to body cameras, including one that would establish grant funding to pay for the equipment, another proposing guidelines for data storage and one that would address how footage would be subject to public records laws.
In particular, Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) has proposed AB 66, which would, amongst other things, prevent police from viewing their footage before writing up reports. This bill is obviously not without controversy, with the debates leading Weber to consider taking out the most controversial provision of her bill. The bill was amended last on May 6, 2015.
Body Cam Footage as Evidence
With body camera video more common and either voluntarily or mandated by law, criminal defense attorneys will be able utilize the more accessible footage to gain evidence to aid in your case. For example, body cameras when turned on throughout the interaction, will also help indicate whether the police acted within their own policies, whether an unlawful search and seizure occurred, whether police read you your Miranda rights whilst taking you into custody, and whether any of your rights have been violated or whether there has been any police misconduct. The use of cameras may also have implications on the CRB (“Citizen’s Review Board”) should you want to file a CRB complaint about an officer’s breach of conduct. Most importantly, the use of the footage can be utilized to point out inconsistencies in officer testimony for your defense.
San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney
The Law Offices of David M. Boertje handles all misdemeanor and felony criminal cases. We are dedicated to protecting your constitutional rights and freedom, and have successfully represented many defendants. Mr. Boertje will request body cam footage and submit a public records request whenever possible, and utilize that evidence for your best defense. If you have been arrested and charged with a crime, reach out to the office today for a consultation.