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By Anders Hagstrom
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo ordered police officers to turn on their body cameras when responding to any call Wednesday.
Arradondo made the announcement following uproar from a series of police misconduct complaints. Justine Damond was shot by a police officer responding to her own call July 15, and in June, former officer Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted in the shooting of Philando Castile during a routine traffic stop in 2016 in a suburb of Saint Paul, the Star Tribune reported Wednesday.
“We are not passing judgment on a single officer, nor are we looking at a single event; we are responding to our communities and to recent ongoing assessment,” Arradondo said in a news conference. “This policy enhancement has been in process for a few months now and many officers are using their cameras a lot and as they’re intended to be used. But there are some officers who are not using them nearly enough.”
Previous policy largely left it up to the officers to turn on their cameras. Yanez neglected to turn on his body camera during his encounter with Castile, forfeiting information that would have been crucial to the the jury’s decision in his case. Mohamed Noor, the officer who shot Damond, didn’t activate his camera either. (RELATED: Not All Blacks Care About Latest Shooting)
“What good is a camera if it is not being used when it may be needed the most?” Arradondo said (RELATED: Justine Damond Called 911 Twice The Night Mohamed Moor Killed Her)
Arradando has only led the Minneapolis police for less than a week, as former chief Janeé Harteau resigned Friday amid furious protest against police misconduct.
The department is facing another protracted legal battle with Damond’s family, who has hired the same attorney who represented Castile’s family.
“We need to build and regain our community’s trust,” Arradondo said. “That is my charge and I’ve expressed that to all of our officers; that body worn cameras are a tool. It’s not everything but it’s a tool. As I’ve told officers, we give them equipment to do their jobs. The one thing we cannot equip them with is the benefit of the doubt.”