‘Technical Issues’ Prevented Body Cams From Filming Long Beach Police Shooting

Some officers at the scene when Long Beach police shot and wounded a parolee Saturday are part of a small group assigned to wear body cameras as part of the department’s pilot program to test the devices, but the officers weren’t wearing their cameras that day because of “technical issues,” according to authorities.

If the cameras had been functioning, Saturday would’ve been Long Beach police’s first chance to see how helpful the footage is in the aftermath of a police shooting.

On Tuesday, the Long Beach Police Department would not answer questions about the glitch.

Police issued a statement saying, “The pilot program is ongoing, and we continue to evaluate various aspects of the system’s overall operations, which includes effectiveness, technology and feasibility. Therefore, it would be premature to provide additional details on the pilot program at this time.”

It’s unclear how many cameras the glitch affected, when the issue began or if it’s been solved.

About 40 Long Beach police officers began wearing body cameras in November to test them for the possibility of a broader rollout.

The testing period is expected to last up to a year. After that year, officials overseeing the test plan will evaluate how effective the cameras are, according to department guidelines governing the process.

The cameras have had some technical problems so far, according to a law enforcement source who is familiar with the program but isn’t authorized to speak publicly about it.

One issue is the camera’s battery life, according to the source. They often run out of power before the officers wearing them finish their shifts, the source said.

It’s unclear if that’s related to the technical glitch police cited in Saturday’s shooting.

“There absolutely is a battery problem,” the source said. “I just have no idea if it has anything to do with this situation. And I don’t know if the department knows yet.”

According to the source, the department started giving officers backup power supplies to charge their cameras during shifts.

“Battery packs are being used, which is even more cumbersome and more of a hassle,” the source said.

In a statement Monday, the Long Beach Police Department said the officers involved in the shooting weren’t wearing their cameras at all on Saturday.

“The department experienced some technical issues with the Body Worn Camera pilot program equipment on this date, and the officers involved in the incident were not equipped with their body worn cameras during their shift,” the statement said. “Video of the incident was discovered at a nearby location and was recovered by detectives.”

Police said officers opened fire on 27-year-old Ronald Clark on Saturday because they feared he was reaching for a weapon after officers Tasered him.

Officers first confronted Clark and about two dozen other people around 8:20 p.m. in the 2100 block of W. Spring Street where the group was drinking in public, according to police.

Clark ran from the group and started trying to get into a nearby parked car with people inside, police said.

Officers Tasered him “in an attempt to stop him from entering the vehicle,” according to a news release.

When the Taser didn’t stop Clark, he began reaching for his waistband, ignoring officers’ orders to put his hands up, police said.

That’s when at least one officer opened fire, wounding Clark, who was taken to a hospital in stable condition, according to the department.

After the shooting, officers did not find any weapons on Clark, police said.

Police did find drugs at the scene and discovered Clark had an “armed and dangerous” warrant out for his arrest, according to the department.

Clark is also on parole for a robbery conviction, police said.

Officers arrested Clark on suspicion of violating his parole, according to jail records.

Long Beach police have said they generally will not reveal any footage recorded by body cameras. However, officers wearing the cameras will usually be allowed to review the footage before writing any reports.

Source: http://www.presstelegram.com

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5618 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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