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Monday Morning Bullpen: New Police Body-Worn Cameras Needed

Published on Monday, November 29, 2021 | 5:00 am

The City Council returns on Monday, a night they were scheduled to take off due to the Thanksgiving holiday.

The make up meeting is being held because there was no quorum present for last Monday’s meeting.

The workings of the City Council are actually very simple.

The City Council needs five affirmative votes to pass anything, and for the most part, they can’t vote on anything not on the agenda.

Where it gets hard is the council must balance the city’s needs with the will of the people and those two things don’t always work in concert.

Read the charter, it’s all in there.  

The body-worn camera item on the consent calendar is still the top issue at council.

I covered this item in last week’s column, but here’s a quick review.  

The $1,709,591 contract amendment for the city’s body-worn camera system would allow for newer body cameras that have the capability to automatically activate when police remove a firearm from its holster.

According to a city staff report, the new system ensures the body-worn camera is activated during a critical incident.

Here’s my question: will the camera also be activated when an officer removes his taser device from its holster?

I hope that’s the case.

Before you comment, take some time to understand the true nature of body-worn cameras, dashboard cameras and audio recordings. If used properly, they hold the police and the public accountable. 

That’s why they should always be activated.

Here’s an example.

In 2016, two women claimed they were sexually assaulted by two Pasadena police officers during a traffic stop.

In the lawsuit, the mother claimed an officer made her lift her shirt, exposing her breasts to the public. She also claimed in the lawsuit, that she was forced to watch as another officer fondled, sexually assaulted and molested her daughter’s private parts while searching her.

Video footage showed she lifted her shirt just high enough to expose her waistband and no fondling occurred.  

Conversely in the fatal shooting of Anthony McClain by a Pasadena police officer, one of the police officers involved in that incident did not turn on his camera until after the incident occurred, which has led to some questions and concerns. 

Answer the question on tasers and pass the item. 

Hopefully, the new cameras work as advertised and critical incidents are captured to protect everyone involved.

The other one I will be watching is a hearing officer’s decision on the revocation of the Conditional Use Permit for Der Wolfskopf, a popular, self-described “restobar” over alleged violations of its use permit and problems related to alcohol sales.

There have been at least two service calls this year to police to break up large fights.

According to a story by Pasadena Now’s Keith Calayag, police and city code enforcement officers allege the business has violated a number of the terms set forth by the location’s Conditional Use Permit.

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