In an effort to increase transparency within the police department, the
Houston Police Department is pushing for reform to change body cameras
so the device begins recording sooner. Earlier in the summer, police officers’
body cams caught footage of an armed man being shot and killed –
but the cameras did not begin filming the incident until after the man
had been shot.
Skeptics arguing that the incident was yet another occurrence of police
brutality and misconduct were not convinced that authorities were honest
in their claims that the victim was allegedly pointing his guns at officers.
Furthermore, citizens and officials worried that the department as a whole
could not investigate the shooting death objectively. Houston Police Chief
Art Acevedo, however, is advocating for changes to be implemented in regards
to body cams. Acevedo’s reform would require body cams to begin
filming automatically when police officers exit their vehicles –
Acevedo says he hopes this will improve transparency and help investigations.
“The last thing they should be worrying about is hitting a button”
Body cams that are automatically activated can help situations pertaining
critical moments that are not captured on video. “When an officer
turns a corner and they see a person being shot or assaulted or stabbed,
the last thing they should be worrying about is hitting a button,”
Senior Policy Strategist of ACLU of Texas Matthew Simpson worked with Acevedo
on a similar proposal in Austin and found that both officers and civilians
have had fewer complaints since the implementation of the new body cams.
Police departments across the nation are still undecided on when the appropriate
time is to release body cam footage – former Houston Police Chief
Charles A. McClelland stated that Texas law allows the public release
of body cam footage only after the case’s verdict has been reached.
Houston personal injury attorneys represent victims of police brutality and wrongful police shootings. If
you or a loved one is a victim to police misconduct, we invite you to
contact The Law Office of Guerra & Farah, PLLC today.
Contact us today to request your
free initial consultation.