Trigger happy police in the US city of Minneapolis are now claiming that the body cameras of a police officer who shot dead an unarmed Australian woman investigating a disturbance in the back lane behind her home were mysteriously turned off.
Minneapolis police have also claimed that the camera on a nearby patrol car was also unable to record the shooting by their officers.
Known for their trigger happy responses the Minneapolis Police are not saying whether they will hand over the body cameras that were turned off, the storage system that the cameras were connected to, over to an indipendent authority for inspection a process that would reveal when exactly the last footage was shot and whether the camera’s and the storage system had been tampered with after the shooting.
Last year the Minneapolis City Council approved a contract with Taser International now known as Axon the maker of the cameras. These are the same cameras used by the Northern Territory Police in Australia.
The Company claims that ‘recording evidence is just the beginning – capture and stream video with complete integration in our suite of mobile and cloud applications’.
A statement on the Companies web siite claims that users of their technology have a mission every day to protect life. ‘We are Axon, a team committed to pushing the boundaries of technology to help you feel more confident in the field, at the station and in court. From Smart Weapons, like our TASER devices, to police body cameras and digital evidence management systems, every product works together as a single network. Seamlessly integrated. Completely connected. And designed to help police, sheriffs and law enforcement agencies everywhere make the world a safer place”.
It appears that the Minneapolis Police are taking an each way bet with their Axon technology
The supplied cameras that are 1080p HD capable are designed to record in low-light and HD, and can make voices more distinct with automatic tuning and noise reduction, the cameras have a 12 hour battery life.
What will be interesting to find out is whether the camera was ever turned on prior to the patrol. Some officers are known to deliberatly turn their cameras off so that they can protect themselves in the event of a shooting.It’s also now known why the police officers did not use Taser guns instead of guns with bullets.
At this stage it appears that not only was the female who was shot unarmed she was the only person in the laneway at the time.
These particular cameras are Wi Fi and Bluetooth enabled devices that can be remotely monitored or streamed to a phone.
The Australian woman shot dead by police was Justine Damond who was also known as Justine Ruszczyk, she was a trained veterinarian and meditation teacher.
She had called police after hearing a disturbance in the alley and had gone out to investigate when she was shot, according to media reports.
“The officers’ body cameras were not turned on at the time and the squad camera did not capture the incident,” the BCA said in a statement.
“Investigators are attempting to determine whether any video of the incident exists.”
Ms Damond is believed to have been living in the US for at least the past three years.
Zach Damond, the son Don Damond, told The Star Tribune the woman “heard a noise in the alley and called the police”.
The woman was to be married to Mr Damond, 50, in August, a family friend said.
A man, claiming to be Zach, gave an interview to Women’s March Minnesota on Sunday afternoon, saying the police were not being transparent about his mother’s killing.
“My mom is dead because a police officer shot her for reasons I don’t know, and I demand answers,” he said.
“America sucks,” he added.
Plans to outfit Minneapolis police officers with body cameras were put into place following the fatal police shooting last year of Jamar Clark, which sparked weeks of protest in Minneapolis, and heightened concerns nationwide about police use of force.
“Two Minneapolis police officers responded to a 911 call of a possible assault just north of the 5100 block of Washburn Avenue S. just before 11:30 p.m. Saturday,” the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said in a news release. “At one point, an officer fired their weapon, fatally striking a woman.
“The BCA’s investigation is in its early stages. More information will be available once initial interviews with incident participants and any witnesses are complete … The officers’ body cameras were not turned on at the time and the squad camera did not capture the incident. Investigators are attempting to determine whether any video of the incident exists.”
Minneapolis police confirmed that the two officers involved are on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure. It’s not known whether the officers are black or white.