Should Police Wear Cameras

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police_pictureOn occasion, a news story appears asking us to consider whether police should wear cameras.  Recently, the New York Times did an opinion piece on the topic.

In my own practice, I love it when I get a case that has a video.  Whether it is a dash cam, a lapel cam, or any other type of footage, it is great for my case because it gives juries the opportunity to actually see and hear what happened.  Without the cameras, the jury is left to police opinion, which is obviously going to be biased in favor of the prosecution.

Without cameras police intentionally:

  • Lie,
  • Cheat,
  • and Steal

They lie because they can get away with it and it helps their case.  For example, a person who may have only had a slight smell of alcohol may have a strong odor of alcohol according to police testimony at trial.  A person who was only slightly weaving may have been all over the road and intentionally running stop signs.

They cheat because our Constitution is meant to protect defendants but the Supreme Court has spelled out what officers need to say to make something that was probably unconstitutional appear constitutional.  This happens quite often in searches where an officer is conducting a fishing expedition and comes across something illegal.  As soon as the illegal thing is found, a trumped up charge appears that justifies the search and then the prosecutor instructs the police officer on what they need to say to justify the search and make it appear to be constitutional.

They steal because they take away the protections of a Constitutionally protected person and then take away that person’s liberty by locking them in jail, prison, or killing them.

Our system needs change and the change revolves around making officers honest.  The more truth we can inject into this system, the better.  Some prosecutors say that defense attorneys are “muddying the water” when they try to talk about all of the facts surrounding an incident.  All of the facts, including the ability to see what happened with our own eyes, is not muddying the water.  It is giving jurors the whole truth and nothing but the truth and videos get us a step closer to this dream scenario.

The information in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or as the creation of an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice, please contact an Attorney.

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Nathaniel has worked in criminal law on both sides of the aisle spending time working for the prosecution as well as the defense. Most recently Nathaniel has represented individuals in violent felonies and drug cases. Prior to this work, Nathaniel handled DWIs, Domestic Violence Cases, Property Crimes, and White Collar Crimes. On the prosecutorial side, Nathaniel has most notably worked in Bosnia helping to prosecute individuals who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Bosnian War from 1993-1995. In particular, Nathaniel helped in the prosecution of military leaders who arranged for the organized murders and rapes of innocent civilians in various towns in Bosnia. Nathaniel is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, Northwestern University, and Phillips Exeter Academy. Google Profile: Nathaniel Baca