– New Orleans Police Officer Turns Off Body Camera Minutes Before Shooting Suspect In Forehead (Jonathan Turley, Aug 19, 2014):
n New Orleans, Armand Bennet, 26, was shot in the forehead during a traffic stop by New Orleans police officer Lisa Lewis. However, the police department did not reveal until much later that Lewis turned off her body camera just before shooting Bennett. Bennett survived and has now been charged under prior warrants for his arrest. It also reviewed that Lewis had had a prior run in with Bennet who escaped about a week earlier.
New Orleans Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas called the late disclosures on the shooting simply a “snafu.”
Lewis’ lawyer says that she turned off her camera because she was heading back to the station at the end of her shift and that the shot was fired during a scuffle after the stop. Bennett’s attorney says that there was no scuffle and that Lewis fired a second shot as Bennett ran away.
The two had been in a scuffle a week before and Bennett had gotten away. The NOPD then issued four warrant for Bennet and those warrants were the basis for the stop.
Putting aside the merits of the officers claims, I am still unclear why these body cameras can even be turned off by officers. The point of a body camera should be that it runs from check in to check out. It should not be under the control of the officer to guarantee a record that cannot be challenged by either side. That would avoid the troubling appearance of an officer with a prior run in with a suspect who turns off her camera minutes before shooting the suspect in the head.