You asked for Body-Worn Cameras, you got them.

Body-worn cameras are overall much better for cops than originally thought. And the usual suspects are not happy.

A few years back I was tasked by my shift commander to review the body worn camera (BWC) videos of two of my officers. They handled an accident and one of the drivers filed a complaint that he requested a supervisor on scene, and the officers refused. Well, I spent the better part of four hours (and several drops of artificial tears) reviewing the video on the computer. I was able to point out to my lieutenant and our captain that the officer asked the driver twice if he wanted a supervisor, and the man answered, “No” each time. The driver’s complainant was without merit, to use some legal jargon.

But I’ve seen feedback on BWCs in the past, and while the usual suspects (“Civil Rights” attorneys, the NAACP, the federal “Just-Us” department) who demanded every cop in the country video record are now upset the system is not showing what they knew, just knew was going on. That every time a cop on the street initiates a traffic stop or other investigation, the only reason is they are racists wanting to shoot an unarmed black man. Well, things in Miami are not showing that:

Report: Miami officers who wear bodycams twice as likely to be cleared of complaints. A six-month study says the most common problem investigators face is microphones not being turned on

By Charles Rabin Miami Herald Nov 9, 2022

MIAMI — Miami police officers who wear body cameras are twice as likely to be cleared of misconduct complaints, and the most common problem associated with the camera is its microphone not being turned on, a new study by the city says.

Most complaints involving police body cameras come from District 5, a triangular swath in the city’s northern end that is majority Black, according to the most recent census.

A six-month study by the city’s Civilian Investigative Panel into the still controversial technology found that the most common problem the public and investigators face associated with the camera is its microphone not being turned on. The city’s independent police oversight panel also recommended that technology be installed that would automatically start a camera when an officer draws a weapon.

Interesting. I’ve used three models of cameras over the last ten years. Each one is constantly recording without audio, retaining 30 seconds of video. Once I press the button, the audio kicks in, but you still have the previous half-minute to review (without sound). I’m not sure if this a “feature” of the Miami camera or a camera defect.

Perhaps the least surprising finding in the 28-page report, according to advocates who pushed for the cameras as far back as a decade ago, is that the technology benefits police more than it harms them. The CIP report found that in two out of three cases, officers were cleared of wrongdoing because the camera didn’t support a misconduct charge.

If someone files a complaint on a cop, generally it’s cleared in one of three ways:

Not-sustained: Not enough evidence to prove or disprove the accusation.

Sustained: The complaint is valid and the officer violated statue or policy.

Exonerated: The action occurred, but it was proper and in accordance with law and policy.

Before BWCs, most complainants were Not-sustained, as there was not evidence to prove or disprove the accusation. Now with this new technology, it’s more often exonerated or sustained. You would think the people who don’t like cops would be happy the truth is coming out.

Well, not really, I recall this article from a few years back, after Michael Brown but before George Floyd.

Remember When Civil Rights Groups Wanted Police Bodycams? Look At What They’re Saying Now.

But now, a group called The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights avers that bodycams pose a “threat to civil rights.” They released a report titled, “The Illusion of Accuracy: How Body-Worn Camera Footage Can Distort Evidence,” in which they decry bodycams because the officers can view the footage before they write incident reports.

In the report, Vanita Gupta, the leader of the Leadership Conference, who is a former ACLU director and former acting assistant attorney general of the civil rights division under former President Obama, writes, “The vast majority of the nation’s leading police departments with body-worn camera programs allow unrestricted footage review – meaning, officers are permitted to review footage from body-worn cameras whenever they’d like, including before writing their incident reports or making statements.”

You mean using the technology you pushed (at great expense I might add) to record possible police misconduct, to ensure their reports are accurate, details are not left out, etc. Trust me, as someone who’s been destroyed on cross examination regarding the block number on a street by a good defense attorney, I know how a minor detail like that can ruin a case. So yes, most departments let the cops review the video.

The report adds:

Unrestricted footage review creates an illusion of accuracy because it produces a false impression about how much officers actually remember about an incident. It makes officers’ memories appear to be more accurate, and thus more credible, than the memories of other eyewitnesses — which can distort how an independent factfinder, like a judge or a jury, might understand how an incident truly unfolded. In the worst cases, because of the inherent limits of body-worn cameras, unrestricted footage review allows officers to square their version of events to the footage, and potentially create false beliefs about what actually happened.

No, it makes the record of the event more accurate and allows the officer to testify in court more precisely. And a defendant (and other defense witnesses) can review the officer’s video prior to trial in preparation for testifying. It’s part of discovery, the prosecution must present all evidence to the defense in a timely manner so they can prepare their case.

You would think that those “championing” civil rights and justice would want to simply see the facts of the case, but the report seems to be more concerned that a police officer might be more credible than some eyewitness. Well, eyewitnesses are not necessarily the best source of information on an event.

Remember this great lie, “HANDS UP! DON’T SHOOT!” Dozens of “witnesses” swore Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown while he was surrendering. There was no video (amazing with over 100 people on the street no one recorded the incident), but when the evidence came out (e.g., powder burns on Brown’s hands, blood in the police car), the witnesses “revised” their statements to prevent being charged with perjury. So those involved with the criminal justice system should be happy technology is showing the truth, right?

Michael A. Thiac is a retired Army intelligence officer, with over 23 years experience, including serving in the Republic of Korea, Japan, and the Middle East. He is also a retired police patrol sergeant, with over 22 years’ service, and over ten year’s experience in field training of newly assigned officers. He has been published at The American Thinker,, and on his personal blog, A Cop’s Watch.

Opinions expressed are his alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of current or former employers.

If you enjoyed this article, then please REPOST or SHARE with others; encourage them to follow AFNN

Truth Social: @AFNN_USA
CloutHub: @AFNN_USA



Similar Posts by The Author:

2 thoughts on “You asked for Body-Worn Cameras, you got them.”

  1. Having that body cam, and the car cam, is one of the best things I’ve seen for cops. Now there is video evidence that can separate the good from the bad, in living color.

    • The numbers prove it. It generally clears more officers than anything. The biggest set back we have with this is it eliminates a lot of our discretion. Classic example, I have an 18 year old drunk driving, but otherwise has a clean record. In the past, assuming they were not jerks, I would let the parents pick the kid up, etc. Can’t do that anymore, the department will move against the cop. But overall it has been a positive

Leave a Comment