Thursday, March 20, 2014

San Diego ACLU backs cameras on police officers' uniforms as a check on police misconduct and to protect cops against false accusations

In San Diego, police officers soon will be outfitted with cameras worn on their uniforms. Jeff Wergeles, the deputy director of the San Diego ACLU said the group usually doesn't like cameras because of concern about invasion of the public's privacy, but he noted that the cameras have the potential "to serve as a check on the abuse of power by police officers" and "to protect police against false accusations of abuse."

As with every profession, there are some bad cops, and we have chronicled police misconduct that undermines the rights of the innocent. Since police officers will have the power and the duty to activate the recording, there is a potential for the rare bad cop to fail to turn it on when he abuses his power.

More promising is that the cameras will protect police from unjust accusations of abuse or sexual misconduct. If you have never seen the video below, it is a chilling reminder of the power of a false rape claim. Without the video, we shudder to think where the police officer might be today: