web analytics
Home / Entertainment News / Officers’ Muted Body Cams in Sacramento Shooting ‘Builds Suspicion’

Officers’ Muted Body Cams in Sacramento Shooting ‘Builds Suspicion’

About seven minutes after Sacramento police fatally shot an unarmed black man in his grandmother’s backyard last week, officers were instructed to mute their body cameras.

Stephon Clark, 22, was in the backyard March 18 when two police officers shot at him 20 times. Police said they thought he was holding a gun. But investigators say they did not find a weapon at the scene, only a cellphone near the man’s body.
The Sacramento Police Department on Wednesday released two body camera videos, the 911 call, the helicopter footage and radio traffic from the shooting.
In both videos, an officer can be heard saying, “Hey, mute.” Directly after, the video goes silent and officers talk among themselves.

‘It builds suspicion’

The shooting has sparked nationwide outrage, with the muting of the body cameras raising questions about the officers’ actions. CNN has called and emailed the police department but has not heard back.
Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn told CNN affiliate KCRA that the action has added to the tension after the shooting.
“Muting is one of those things that we have to take a look at,” Hahn said. “Any time there is muting on this camera, it builds suspicion — as it has in this case. And that is not healthy for us in our relationship with our community.”

According to Sacramento police spokesman Sergeant Vance Chandler, he mentioned as follows. “There are a variety of reasons why officers have the opportunity to mute their body-worn cameras.” That’s all that was said about it. Yet, when Vice News asked for a comment from the department, it didn’t immediately respond. The department has refused to identify the officers. However, Vice News reports that they’ve been placed on paid administrative leave.

A different perspective

When officers mute body cameras, Stoughton said, the public looks at it from a different perspective.
“From a public trust perspective, it may have been better to not have a body camera at all than to have it and turn it off halfway through,” he said.
Body cameras provide information that the public wouldn’t otherwise have, but “it’s not perfect information,” Stoughton said.
There is no statewide body camera policy in California, so body camera policies differ from agency to agency, said Jeff Noble, a police practice consultant and a former deputy police chief in Irvine, California.
“The cameras served the goal that we put body cameras out for, they were on and activated during the chase and during the shooting,” Noble said.

Scroll To Top
error: Content is protected !!