MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minneapolis police officers will be required to have their body cameras on when they respond to calls and make traffic stops, the acting police chief announced Wednesday, following widespread criticism that two officers involved in the fatal shooting of a 911 caller had not activated their cameras.
The stricter requirements will take effect Saturday, Acting Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said at a news conference. Officers who violate them could face discipline ranging from one-day suspensions to firing, he said.
“Many of our officers are using their cameras a lot, and as they’re intended to be used,” he said. “But there are some officers, quite frankly, that are not using them nearly enough.”
Justine Damond, a 40-year-old spiritual teacher and bride-to-be from Australia, was shot by Officer Mohamed Noor after she called 911 on July 15 to report hearing a possible sexual assault behind her Minneapolis home. Noor’s partner, Officer Matthew Harrity, told investigators he was startled by a loud noise right before Damond approached their police SUV. Noor, who was in the passenger seat, shot Damond through the driver-side window.
Mayor Betsy Hodges expressed frustration at the news conference that despite all the time, money and energy the city has put into deploying body cameras, “we did not have body camera footage in an incident where it mattered a great deal.”
Before she resigned at the mayor’s request last week, former police Chief Janee Harteau said the officers’ cameras should have been on.
Minneapolis launched a body camera pilot project in November 2014, just months after the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Minnesota’s largest city began to roll out the technology throughout the department last summer and the cameras have been deployed department-wide for about eight months.
The old policy required officers to turn on their cameras in more than a dozen situations, including for a traffic…