Godot's bringing them

When oh when are the Portland police going to start wearing body cams? The dithering goes on forever, it seems. The main holdup seems to be the self-proclaimed badasses in the police union. They want the cams, but as a way to help their more violent and racist members avoid responsibility for brutality and homicide. The federal lawyers who protect civil rights say that's b.s., and they've been saying so even under Orange Caligula and that hideous Bill Barr.

The kids at the Merc have a good summary of where things have been, and where they stand now. Including:

Jared Hager, an assistant US attorney representing the DOJ, echoed these requests in a virtual community listening session Sunday with members of the public.

“We believe that any use of force report should be written before officers review their body worn camera footage, in order to ensure that we have an accurate captioning of an important piece of evidence that the body worn camera is not going to capture and that is: ‘Why did the officer use force? What was in the officer's mind the moment before they used force against a civilian?’” Hager said. “That evidence can only be captured if an officer writes a report before viewing the footage because otherwise their memory gets tainted by what they see on camera.”

PPA President Aaron Schmautz, meanwhile, shed light on the union’s counter-argument, calling body cameras a tool to help “refresh officers’ memories.”

“My only interest with my members going out and doing their jobs is to ensure that when they’re documenting [for the public] that they’re giving the most comprehensive and best reflection of what occurred,” said Schmautz. He noted that during high-stress moments, like ones when officers use force, officers could have memory loss. Allowing officers to view their camera footage before having to be interviewed by an investigator would allow for a fuller narrative, Schmautz said.

Gimme a break. "Fuller narrative," my eye. The cops, who have been known to lie their butts off when they wrongfully hurt or kill someone, want to see what the camera shows so that the story they make up isn't contradicted by the film.

But still, we dither. It's ridiculous. The police dig themselves as a military force, but Army guys don't get to have a union, and they don't get to negotiate orders. Here's the way it ought to be: You put on the camera when you start your shift, and you don't take it off until the shift is over. There is no "off" switch. If you beat or kill somebody, you submit to a thorough interview before you go home, and long before you get to see the footage. The footage is immediately sent to a review board that has the final say on discipline. They meet three times a week.

Don't like it? Be a cop somewhere else.

I know what the police fans out there will tell me: They'll all resign. There wiill be no cops.

But what they can't tell me is how that's any different from the lawless mess Portland is now.

And where the heck is that union contract? Can the faceless mediator or arbitrator or whoever is writing it spare a few minutes to maybe, like, get it done?


  1. Your plan should have been done 18 months ago.

  2. Meh. Any footage showing cops misbehaving will become "lost" or somehow just disappear.

  3. A union for the Army. Ha! That's a good one. Spot on!


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