Police departments throughout the United States are increasing their use of body cameras on police uniforms. The idea is not only to collect video evidence against defendants, but also to protect against police misconduct and violation of people's rights.
The Orlando Police Department, which has been accused of excessive force multiple times in the last year, currently uses 50 body cameras. Recently it was announced that the department will add 400 more body cameras in the next four years.
As with any kind of evidence-gathering, police must follow proper procedure, and that is true also with body cameras. According to Orlando's police chief, officers will be able to access video evidence by uploading it to their computers, but video from body cameras cannot be edited by police.
It remains to be seen how use of body cameras will affect individual cases in Orlando.
If you are facing a charge based on evidence from a police dash camera or body camera, then speak with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about the admissibility of the evidence. In some cases, video evidence shows that a police officer violated a defendant's rights. Such violations may include the following:
- Failure to issue Miranda warnings
- Lack of probable cause for arrest
- Illegal search and seizure
- Excessive force
One case of excessive force recently resulted in the firing of an Orlando police officer after he fired an assault rifle 23 times at a suspect who was in a car about 90 feet away. That officer is now facing criminal charges.
A criminal conviction of any kind can have serious consequences. Not everyone accused a crime is guilty, however, and everyone has the right to a criminal defense.