The rising prevalence of police body cameras brings with it a number of important legal considerations. While bodycams still are not the norm – a 2013 study found that only an estimated 25% of police departments across the country implemented a body cam program – they seem to be on their way to widespread adoption. This helps put some power back into the hands of citizens.
How can police bodycam footage help you? Keep reading to find out and call the experienced legal team at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC today at (312) 644-0444. Your call is always confidential, and your consultation is always free.
Using Bodycam Footage to Sue Police
Body cameras worn by police are useful under a variety of circumstances. Perhaps chief among these is as a tool for citizens who are suing police departments. There are a number of reasons that ordinary citizens may choose to take legal action against a particular police officer or an entire police department. These commonly include:
- Unreasonable or Excessive Force
- Police Brutality
- False Arrest
Civilians are granted the authority to sue police officers thanks to a piece of legislation put into effect in the 1800s, Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act of 1871. Officers have something called qualified immunity, which helps protect them from false accusation. However, with bodycam footage, you are able to hold police accountable and show when they engaged in actions which have violated your civil rights.
Using Bodycam Footage in Your Defense
Another way that body cameras worn by police are useful can be seen when looking at criminal defense. Officers can, and do, make mistakes. They can also attempt to frame innocent citizens or act in such a way during an arrest that may help you to be exonerated of any charges.
However, in order to prove this, you will need evidence, and that is where bodycam footage and audio records become invaluable. While body cameras were first implemented to aid police, the evidence captured by them can be just as useful when arguing that you are not guilty, or arguing that they have acted improperly or illegally towards you.
Remember, police are not always above board in all their actions. An extreme example of this would be planting evidence on a suspect. Bodycam footage might show this misuse of power and help make sure that an innocent person is not unjustly jailed.
Other ways that body camera recordings can potentially help include:
- Keeping police honest – they can’t lie if there is a record of how they acted
- Corroborating police & witness statements – there is no room for a lie in video and audio footage
While body cam footage is admissible in court and can be introduced like any other piece of evidence, police departments are likely to put up a fight to keep it out of the courtroom. An aggressive attorney can help ensure that such important evidence gets seen by the judge or jury. Having an experienced attorney on your side will help when introducing any evidence, especially bodycam footage that implicates police officers, and the skilled criminal defense attorneys at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC are available to help you in your quest for justice. Call today for a free consultation at (312) 644-0444.