Body cams. Sometimes they work for you and sometimes they work against you, but in this case it is the cops who are complaining…
Ten (10) police officers in Round Lake Park, a Chicago suburb, filed a lawsuit in federal court against the town on Thursday, November 10th, 2016 for $1,000,000.00. In their suit the disgruntled cops have reportedly claimed that the body cameras, which they were required to wear at all times while on duty, never turned off and that the cameras recorded them while they were using the restroom and changing…. and they have the digital evidence to prove it!
Round Lake Park Police Officer Dominick Izzo discovered the problem while he was reviewing video from his camera back in May, 2016. According to the lawsuit Officer Izzo discovered that the cameras continued to record even though they were in”off” or in “sleep mode”, which is a violation of the Police Department’s policy of not using the cameras to record anyone anywhere where a reasonable expectation of privacy exists (such as a bathroom or during activities which are not reasonably related to law enforcement duties).
The lawsuit reportedly says that the cameras recorded thousands of “highly offensive and voyeuristic intrusions” including video that is alleged to have shown various officers’ genitals. The suit claims that the officers’ civil rights were violated and that their privacy was invaded as the camera filmed various “private and personal acts”, including officers using the bathroom.
The lawsuit alleges that after Officer Izzo complained to a commander all of the voyeuristic footage was deleted (this not withstanding an IL state law which requires
that all recordings be saved for at least 90 days), but – get ready for it – a video of an unsuspecting officer who was filmed as he used the bathroom ended up on the internet. After that the suit was filed by ten (10) Plaintiff Officers, all of whom claim to have been “humiliated, embarrassed and greatly upset”, and each seeks an award of $100,000.00 in damages.
On the other side of the lawsuit is Police Chief George Filenko who reported stated that he was unaware of the recordings until an officer discovered and reported them and that he hired an outside attorney to investigate and report the facts. The Chief went on to state: “The police officers who filed the lawsuit against the village made a quick rush to judgment, without considering all of the facts. Not only did the plaintiff officers jump the gun in filing the lawsuit, they also refused to cooperate with the investigation initiated to get to the truth of the matter.”
Part of the truth is that the Plaintiff Officers compromise 83.3% of the force (there are 12 officers employed by the Round Lake Park P.D.). Another part of the truth is that Jaime Carlin, spokesperson for Enforcement Video, LLC, of Allen, Texas (which manufactures the cameras in question) claims that the company trained all of the officers police how to disable the cameras. And the final part of the truth is the claim that videos are only saved to the computer system if they are formally marked as evidence and if not then they are recorded over within 48 hours. Now I don’t have a crystal ball but in the end I suspect that the $100,000.00 per officer claim will look more like this….
But then again what do I know? Still, I suspect a…
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