In the light of the shooting death of Stephon Clark, authorities in Sacramento, California, issued a directive mandating that police officers announce when — and why — they opt to turn off their body cameras.
Police shot Clark, 22, at least eight times after eyeballing him as a vandalism suspect, and he died in his own backyard. He was armed with only a cellphone. Two Sacramento Police Department officers muted the microphones on their bodycams in the moments following Clark's death.
What are the details?
According to a report Tuesday in the Los Angeles Times, the department had been mulling over the idea since last year, but Clark's death expedited the decision to implement the new directive and introduced the new policy on Monday.
The directive says that officers can turn off bodycams in certain events, such as "dealing with a victim of sexual assault," or if "a supervisor instructs them to do so."
They may also turn off the bodycams "if a victim or witness is refusing to provide a statement on camera and the situation is non-confrontational."
Officers can also opt to shut the recording system down when speaking to doctors, nurses, or paramedics.
In addition to ensuring a qualifying event permits them to turn off monitoring mechanisms, officers must also state aloud their reasons for turning off their body cameras.
What did the chief previously say about the bodycams?
The Times added that Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn previously said that officers could turn off recording apparatuses when "having personal conversations or dealing with a confidential informant."
Hahn previously said officers should turn off their microphones only when having personal conversations or dealing with a confidential informant.
"Regardless of what the reason was for muting the mic in [the Clark] instance, it still bred more mistrust and that is another chip away at the trust in general that we have between the police department and the community," Hahn said in a recent interview with The Associated Press.