Should cops view bodycam footage before writing use-of-force reports?

An ACLU report argues not, taking issue with some police groups. Practice has differed — the L.A. sheriff’s department, in installing jail cameras, recently adopted a policy that deputies will have to file incident reports before viewing videos.


  • Yes! Just as soon as they allow a burglar, say, to review all video and other evidence against him before giving his first statement to police. Or any other criminal, like a person who shoots an unarmed man.

  • Forgive me, Griffin3, if I have over interpreted your “shoots an unarmed man” comment.

    I have stated in previous comments my belief that race relations in our country are made difficult when the black community uses tribal notions of justice. In tribal justice revenge is taken against your tribal adversary. whereas rule of law requires punishment to be focused on a particular person committing a defined offense at a particular time and place. The fellow who executed the two policemen in New York City justified his action as two of you for two of us. The two of you being members of the police tribe, and the two of us being black men.

    An armed tribe against an unarmed tribe is unfair on its face. But police work involves traffic regulation, protecting people from rape and robbery, and protecting property. Police are armed to aid them in their work. My understanding is that most officers in the police tribe never fire their weapons during their normal (off the firing range) work. That they are more likely to shoot an unarmed person than an armed one when they use their weapons simply reflects the fact that, thank goodness, most people are unarmed. The sloganeering of an unarmed victim of police violence is an ignorant fanning of anti-law tribalism. It is wrong.

  • William Nuesslein,

    You have put forth this “tribalism” theory before.

    If you want to use it in the case of the murders of Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, what “tribe” did the shooter’s (I refuse to name him and give him any further notoriety) girlfriend belong to?

    If you remember, he shot her as well.

    What “tribe” did he belong to when he shot himself?

    I fear the theory of “tribalism” falls apart when faced with the facts of this case. It is far more likely that the shooter was mentally disturbed and looking for any excuse to shoot anyone to become (in)famous.

  • My claim is that tribalism is a problem that thwarts happy race relations. Just because some actions are associated with tribalism does not mean every action stems from tribalism. The assertions that automobiles can be used a getaway cars and that cars are used to get weekly groceries do not contradict each other.

    The “two of them for two of us” remark was widely reported and is the trademark of tribalism. My theory did not fall apart at all. Don’t forget that Colin Yamauchi’s gels proved beyond all doubt that OJ Simpson was guilty. The jury was more concerned with freeing one of theirs.

    To get beyond race, I noticed that juries will try to satisfy public demands at the expense of rational analysis. That happened in the Jerry Sandusky case where the jury findings were inherently ridiculous. Martha Stewart was found guilty based on the jury showing that she is not better nthan them, even though she did nothing wrong.

    I prefer rule of law based on rational analyses to mob rule and tribalism.

  • I do not disagree with your attack on tribalism. However, I do question your choice of “victims.” All three of your examples, Stewart, Sandusky, and Simpson, involved sharp lawyers on the losing side (from your perspective). What about citing to some poor folk who were demonstrably railroaded by the system,later i.e., found not only to be not guilty, but innocent. They had no one to help.

    It is the poor and vulnerable who constitute the vast majority of the population of those victimized by tribalism.