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back to article Head-cam video used to OK Arkansas cop kill

In a case which may offer a glimpse of the future of law enforcement, an American policeman has been cleared of wrongdoing after shooting a man dead - with the aid of video and audio from a headset recorder he wore during the incident. After the decision, the video was released to the public. KFSM 5 News broadcast this report, …

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Bronze badge
Grenade

Odd..

..the clip instantly reminded me of the old video game "Doom", somehow. Just missing the music, but I guess that'll be added by the time it makes it onto Youtube before the weekend.

Imagine if the cop's gun had been a BFG9000. No bloody house left.

Think it was a 'fair cop', though. Pity someone lost his life.

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FAIL

left ear cam?

If the cop was right handed, why wasn't he wearing it over his right ear? At least then you'd be able to discern whatever he was shooting at.

FAIL.

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@Sir Runcible Spoon

>> If the cop was right handed, why wasn't he wearing it over his right ear? At least then you'd be able to discern whatever he was shooting at.

You use your ears to see? The cam not being able to see round the corner has nothing to do with the 'handedness' of the cop - it is to do with the fact that the suspect was to the left of the doorway and the cop, quite reasonably, didn't want to stick his whole head out of the door.

>> Nope. Current score IIRC is - accidental* death to a member of the Public: 30

>> Officers held responsible: 0 (Andus McOatover)

Andus, whilst I agree with sentiment, ISTR there has been one conviction though it was for death by dangerous driving - a cop travelling a 70 in a 30, with no lights or siren, over the brow of a bridge.

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Boffin

aiming by hand?

Nope! you aim with your eyes! and no its not a right handed left handed thing!

It doesn't matter which hand he uses whats important is which eye he aims with. the cam should be on that side! even then Im sure there could be similar obstruction circumstances but until they go for eye implants the only real solution is a gun barrel cam.

as a part time archery instructor I spend most of my time explaining to beginners that a left handed bow is NOT for a Left handed person! Our stock of bows is pretty much 50:50 as that is how the split is for left:rigth eye dominance.

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Anonymous Coward

The cop could just turn it off and say it broke.

Now we just need hidden cams for citizens, so the wrongdoers(or cops) dont know you have one.

preferably it uploads the video somewhere real time as well so confiscating or stomping the device will do no good.

oh hey an actual use for the "cloud" !

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Thumb Up

Fair is fair

Hey geniuses, why don't we put a cam on the head AND the gun. They have them in every police car anyway what's the big deal if we strap them to cops too.

Now everyone make sure if a cop ever stops you, you pull out your smart phone and turn on the video cam. No sense making this a one way affair.

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Anonymous Coward

Good Idea

Put these cameras on every plod, on on their helmet, but an ear piece clip attachment. Make it a official record of the officers actions so he / she can't just turn it off.

I bet there will be a lot less abuse from officers and less unnecessary stop & searches when the plod knows his actions are going to be shown in the official record.

Controlling the police can only be a good thing.

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FAIL

what was the point?

it didn't capture the dead man's actions, so we still only have the shooter's word for it anyway

waste of time, the video proves nothing

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N2

Put the gun down

When ordered by armed police who are ready to fire, means just that & whilst there is not a great deal of visual evidence, its very clear that the defendant was not going to comply, thus an intent to return fire.

Its obviously an unfortunate outcome, in that situation someones going to die & if I was the cop I would have opened fire.

& yes it did look like the automatic pistol in Doom

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Thumb Down

'ordered' by police

What has gone on in the US when its citizens fail to recognise that the police are your employees - paid for by taxes. What happened to protect and serve?

When all police are free to exercise deadly deadly force shouldn't they be required to practise some restraint and use it as a last recourse?

This guy hadnt shot anyone and he wasnt opening fire at police, sounds like a jolly old time shooting 'bad guys'. I want to play cops and robbers too but we dont have that sort of abuse of power over the pond.

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Errr

Thing was they WERE doing their job. Didn't the report say his wife called the cops for help? They went to protect her, and he pulled out a gun and told them to leave. They told him 3 times to put the gun down.

Now just because he didn't shoot anyone YET doesn't mean he wouldn't, his gun was loaded with his finger on the trigger. Should the cops have waited till after someone was dead? If they did, one or all of them might be dead, the guys wife might be dead, and the survivors would be terminated and sued for wrongful death etc... Its also not like they didn't give him ample time to disarm himself. You got a gun in your hand and a pile of cops pointing theirs at you telling you to drop the gun, it don't take a rocket scientist to figure out if you don't listen you are gonna get shot.

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Grenade

A Man's Home Is His Castle

Why should the guy put down HIS gun inside HIS house. Seems to me the cops were stepping way over their authority. 2nd Amendment anyone?

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while we're at it

If we're clipping a camera on the side of the head and on their gun let's also clip a heartbeat monitor onto their ear and relay the whole thing live to a control room like Aliens.

Actually it would be good to see if their pulse raises when they use deadly force or if it is just so mundane for them to take a human life.

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Anonymous Coward

Its not going to stop over aggression by police

In situations where the police expect to be overly aggressive they will just remove/disable their helmet cams in a similar fashion to the way that they currently remove their ID numbers for the same reasons.

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WTF?

justified shooting???

Why does everyone in the states have such respect for police and their supposed necessity for shooting anyone?

Lets get this straight; a police man is justified in shooting a guy in his own home because he is holding a gun and swears at them? How was a non fatal resolution 'impossible'?

If they had taken the time to talk to him for more than 30 seconds perhaps he could have been persuaded to allow the wife to leave. At that point they could have left his house and waited outside for him to calm down and come out.

Did we see or hear anything to substantiate that anyone was in imminent danger? Was there any attempt to resolve in any other manner than 'you have 5 seconds to comply before i kill you!'

If the same event took place in England the officer would be in jail for murder yet Americans think shooting a man is just fine.

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FAIL

If the same event took place in England...

What on earth do you base that assumption on? People have been shot by English police for such crimes as "carrying a chairleg in a plastic bag" or "looking rather like someone suspected of perhaps being a terrorist" with no prosecution of the officers involved.

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Oh, sure

"If the same event took place in England the officer would be in jail for murder yet Americans think shooting a man is just fine."

So whatever did happen to the officers who shot Jean Charles de Menezes? He wasn't even armed yet I see no record of jail time for the killing, indeed all I could find was that, despite their failure to shout any sort of warning and the victim's failure to really do anything that justified use of deadly force, the jury was instructed not to return a verdict of unlawful killing, and the case was deemed an "open verdict". Doesn't quite fit with your confident assertion, does it?

Meanwhile here in gun-nut-land, or at least this part of it, armed standoffs involving police vs disgruntled citizen are a somewhat regular occurrence, but very rarely end in fatal shootings, or any shooting at all. Maybe it's different in the major metro areas, but it's definitely not the rootin' tootin' wild west you seem to think it is.

I don't like the creeping surveillance state at all, but this is one area where cameras could be a good thing. They keep the cops honest for a start, no more claims of "self-defense" when a camera proves that someone was really just being a uniformed thug. If they disable the camera and then go all Clint Eastwood on someone, their intent is clear (and if the system doesn't punish them as such, then it deserves to lose all respect anyway). On the flipside, they also protect the cops from all-too-believable accusations of brutality when they really *were* acting in self defense.

This does naively assume that Big Brother won't screw it up by subverting it into yet another way to spy on everyone. Too bad, it could have been a useful tool.

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Bronze badge

Officer in jail? No way, José

"If the same event took place in England the officer would be in jail for murder"

Nope. Current score IIRC is - accidental* death to a member of the Public: 30

Officers held responsible: 0

The shot man would have been better off carrying a chair-leg. Or being Brazilian. Maybe a silly cigarette lighter might be better.

*This wasn't accidental, natch. Neither was Stockwell. Or making a Waldorf salad.. However, no cop has ever been convicted (Ian Tomlinson/G20 - we await) of unlawful killing.

To paraphrase Python, "The deceased dealt a nasty blow to my bullet with his body, M'Lud."

</satire>

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Bronze badge
Grenade

A question of respect

In the US this kind of incident is referred to as "suicide by cop." US cops expect to be obeyed when they say "drop the weapon." Everyone knows the rules. Everyone also knows that half the population is armed, thus the cops treat citizens with a certain basic respect under normal circumstances (it's only prudent). Waving a gun at a cop is definitely not normal.

How's that respect thing working out in dis-armed Britain? I hear the cops regularly arrest people just to get them in the DNA files, then say "Oops!" and let them go. I also hear that in many areas the citizens live in fear of "youth" gangs and have been told by the police to not defend their own homes but to retreat to a "safe" room they can barricade until the police decide to show up. And heaven help the poor shlub who actually uses force to stop a home-invader. That's illegal! I also hear that knives are being "controlled" now. What's next, big sticks? Ball-point pens? Spit-wads?

We have another saying here: "When seconds count, the police are only minutes away."

Our gangs are largely confined to the worst inner-city areas (the ones with *strict* gun control) like Washington D.C. and Chicago. Go figure. Where I live, guns are not "controlled," meaning people besides criminals can have them. While we do have a bit more domestic violence as a result, criminal types are VERY cautious and the general crime rate is low, resulting in far fewer victims. And as a bonus, we don't have to feel like penned sheep all the time.

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Not justified my ass

1) Wife calls police, says husband threatened her with gun

2) Police arrive, husband brandishes gun

3) Police say "put the gun down", husband does not

4) Police shoot husband after several "put the gun down" warnings.

The non-fatal resolution is for the husband to put his damn gun down like the police ordered him to repeatedly. There is no backing off and leaving the house to let everyone "calm down" when you have an armed suspect. The imminent danger is the lunatic on the other side of the wall with the handgun.

Of course shooting a man isn't just fine. It's a tragic event that should never happen. But what the hell are the cops supposed to do? They can't just leave an armed suspect and let him do something worse than he's already done.

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FAIL

Proves nothing

The cam should be mounted over your dominante eye. The whole point is to see what they see. For all we know the suspect had put the weapon down and had his hands in the air.

Aside from the fact this snippet of video just shows some big stomping bloke screaming & shouting with a gun in his hand - oh no wait sorry - that was the police officer.

"Stop!! Blam blam, Police Blam Blam" - justified - hmm not what I see on this video.

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Anonymous Coward

I can't help but notice

The wording in implies videos would not be made public where the police were found to be in the wrong. If they're going to release the videos in either case, surely we have a right to see both.

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WTF?

You what?

"...officer involved shooting..." "...officer camera..." "...a key evidence..."

What's wrong with this anchor's ability to speak in the intro?

Also doesn't the voiceover journo sound a little like sheriff John Bunnell?

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Paris Hilton

civil liberties and other such boring stuff

"Some British citizens, however, are strongly against policemen even taking pictures of them, and would presumably object to continual video records being generated from every helmet"

Well, um, no. it's all about the purpose and the use of the data. It would be perfectly possible to introduce head cams under a legal framework which restricted their use to the investigation of controversial actions by _the police_ - not their use as evidence-gathering (or, y'know, List-Of-People-We-Don't-Like-The-Look-Of-gathering) tools by the police. The police may be less likely to want them that way, but hey - tough.

Paris, because I hear she's quite an expert on the topic of video cameras. And head.

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more REASONABLE encounters with police

There is a class comment that I would like to copy:

"This will make I think for more polite encounters with police knowing that you're being taped," Fort Smith prosecutor Daniel Shue told KFSM.

Only mine would be:

"This will make I think for more REASONABLE encounters with police knowing that THEY're being taped"

Of course not in England, because we all know that using a camera means you are a terrorist, especially if you are tall and in Chatham, or worse still being shot in the head for it on the tube...

@ml100

"If the same event took place in England the officer would be in jail for murder yet Americans think shooting a man is just fine."

Can I just say:

London underground, Brazilian, Morocan looking eyes, Jumping over barriers wearing a bulky coat in summer whilest also ambling slowly, picking up a paper then politely waiting minding your own business while dressed the same as everyone else.

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Go

I agree with others

the headcam should be on the side that they're going to shoot with. Not on the gun itself- that'd make it bulkier and harder to aim with- but on the side of their head they'll be using to shoot with. Later it could probably go onto the gun. Better funded forces could even roll out monocle headgear so that the police can see what's going on 'round the corner if they're in a situation like this.

Alternatively, what was wrong in this situation with a good ol' tazer or shot to the leg? A flashbang would be useful as well. And a heartrate monitor so they can sack/promote to sniper anyone who becomes a psycho and just doesn't care anymore.

Then again, I'm leading towards every policeman being armed for a full ground assault. Why not just use a grenade or call in an airstrike?

Anyway, with the equipment he had it wasn't as overzealous as he could have been.

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Happy

Wiggy! Wiggy! Wiggy!

All very ghoulish, this wonderful vicarious, permanently connect internet society we have become.

Is that a wiggy the anchor-man is wearing? It's a very cheap and nasty one, if it is!!

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Silver badge

So, that was pointless

The video doesn't whether the dead guy was actually holding a weapon or not.

The video doesn't show whether the dead guy had dropped the alleged weapon or not after the statement by the officer.

It only shows that the police officer shouted a warning and *somebody* said something that was bleeped out before the officer opened fire - it doesn't even show that the dead guy was the one doing the swearing!

Going by that evidence, the dead guy could have dropped the weapon the moment the officer arrived and been stood with his hands in the air. In fact, he might not have even been holding the weapon at all.

So evidently, all an officer needs to do is make sure his camera doesn't actually see the victim, shout at him a few times and then shoot him regardless of what he does, doesn't do or is/isn't carrying.

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Thumb Up

*blink, blink* Uhhh....

Er... for all the haters... do you realise (there, spelled it Brit-like to make you feel more comfortable) how dangerous a man with a gun IS? Have you ever had one held on you and not know whether he's drunk, or on meth, and he refuses to put it down? It's not a good feeling, even if you are armed - not only that, he was responding to a call for help from the man's wife.

Cops get killed a LOT in the line of duty, here in the states - hell, even over in Merry Ol' England it's not exactly the safest of jobs. From what I've seen, half of them get into the job because they want to help people; of course, the other half tends to be overgrown schoolyard bullies with badges but I still treat them as the former until they prove that they're the latter.

Having their actions on camera can only help restrain the bullies and protect the protectors.

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WTF?

hmm..

I read recently that our troops in afghanistan are prohibited from opening fire unless they are currently being shot at. Yet U.S cops can shoot who-ever whenever.

Mind you, if a US cop pointed a gun at me, I think I'd have the good sense to do what I'm bloody told..

..was this suicide by cop?

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Silver badge

Justification of Lethal Force

Lethal force is justified when attempting to arrest a felony suspect? Hahaha.

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Megaphone

The Officer was in the right.

I have a permit to carry a handgun, and EVERYONE who takes the training is taught, IF THE POLICEMAN SAYS DROP THE GUN, YOU DROP THE GUN! Not after you relax, or after you talk with him about it, but right the fuck now!

A policeman who trusts the judgment and goodwill of a possibly intoxicated, definitely incoherent armed person is a fool. There comes a time when you have no choice but to shoot, or you don't see your children again.

The person screaming and brandishing a weapon at a police officer had forgone the benefit of the doubt. Why shoud the policeman risk his own life? Especially for someone who holds no value for their own.

I have been on both ends of a gun, and when it gets the the drawn weapons point, its far too late for "sit down and talk about it". If you are not willing to deal with that you have no business with a firearm, whether you are police or civilian.

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If the cops have good reason to think you are going to shoot...

...then they'll respond in kind. Don't whip out a gun and start acting belligerent unless you've come up with at least one very good reason why you want to have a shootout with the police. ("I would rather like to be shot" is not a good reason.)

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@ml100

Unless of course you're a Brazilian electrician in an underground station...

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Silver badge
FAIL

RE: justified shooting???

I suppose you'd only be happy that there were justifiable grounds AFTER Mr Berry had actually shot someone? I guess the next time there's a Mr Berry you'll be happy to be the person to go in there and reason with him without protection? I'm betting not, or just that you're even more naive than you come across. In the UK, the Police have the right to shoot if they believe their own lives or those of someone else are in danger from a gunman - all the gunman has to do is point a weapon at the Police or a third party and that is grounds enough for the Police to open fire. The Corporal in the video had more than good grounds to assume Mr Berry had no intent on giving up his weapon, and reasonable grounds if Mr Berry had waved it around so it was pointing at either the cops or his wife. Clue for people like you - the Police do not have to wait for a crime to occur to act, and if that crime is likely to cause the death of someone then they will use deadly force. Get over your anti-police bias and accept it can't have been an easy choice for the Corporal to make.

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Re: Justified Shooting???

If we on this side of the pond find that there was not a good reason for shooting the cop will wind up in jail for murder. And think about this if a police officer either British or American winds up in jail they will have people to deal with that they might have put there.

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Silver badge

Gawd/ess. It's simple, really.

If the cop tells you to pack it in until s/he figures out "what's all this 'ere, then?", and you refuse to pack it in ... well, basically, in my mind, you deserve what you get.

Cops are authority figures, sometimes armed, and in a high-stress job. Ignore them at your own risk. If you don't like the idea, find a better place to live.

Case in point is Oscar Grant's death at the hands of a BART policeman on this last New Year's Eve ... It's right there on the cell-phone videos; Oscar was asked to sit down against the wall and keep his hands in sight while the cops sorted out what was going on. He complied. Then he got back up. And was told to sit down again. He did. And then he got up again. And was told to sit back down. He did. And then the silly idiot got back up AGAIN (third strike!), at which point the cops (rightly) decided that he should be cuffed until further notice ... and the stupid fucking moron (Oscar, that is) chose to actually struggle with the police!

Yes, the cop shouldn't have pulled his gun when he was going for the taser ... but I can understand how such a tragic event might happen in a high-stress situation. Oscar, by struggling for no reason, brought his own death upon himself at the hands of an officer who was (probably) under trained ... thus making the lives of BOTH families miserable.

YES, the cop probably needed more training. But Oscar should have sat down and shut up until the cops had the situation sorted out. If he had, the situation would never have happened.

In the months since that police shooting, I've noticed that anytime a criminal in the SFBay's East Bay refuses to listen to the cops, and as a result the perp dies, it is ALWAYS the cop's fault, at least according to the locals ... and if a perp manages to kill a few people after running from the cops, again, as far as the locals in the East Bay are concerned, it's the cop's fault.

The common thread is "Why were the cops chasing him? He was just trying to make a living!" (Selling drugs, trafficing in prostitution or guns or stolen cars, whathaveyou ... ).

We've all gone mad ... and the news is only fanning the flames ...

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Coat

More guns!

Americans need way more guns!

If guns = safety, then more guns = uber safety, surely!

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Thumb Up

From the mouthes of babes...

I'm thinking you ment that as a joke, but there is some evidence to back that up. Where gun ownership is up, crime is down.

"An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life."

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WTF?

Doublethink?

Can you honestly believe, at one and the same time, that an armed citizenry is both so terrifyingly dangerous that the police are justified in shooting to kill on a circumstantial supposition and also that an armed citizenry is intrinsically and inarguably conducive to freedom?

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WTF?

@IDIOTS

All of you..who think the cop should not have fired. A cop isn't just authority, he is a PERSON, a person who deserves to protect the lives of himself, his fellow officers, and most importantly the life of the guy's wife who called in for help. For all of the abuses police might heap upon the public, there comes a time when still their word is AN ORDER - and that is when they say "put the gun DOWN NOW!". There is no room for debate, their is no time to quibble about your rights...you PUT THE £$(%* gun down, and you do it right away. Anything after that takes place in a court of law, where hopefully the rule of law and/or reason applies.

But if you don't put the gun down, you frankly have no right to expect to make it to that day in court - you are an unknown threat to everyone else, including the cops and especially your wife (not wearing a bulletproof vest as the cops likely are). The cop did the only thing he could do - he eliminated the threat, AFTER warning for nearly 20 seconds to comply with his orders. In that situation, 20 seconds is a hell of a long time.

And yes, I'm an NRA member who believes in the right to bear arms...but you also need to know when to give them up to authority. If you don't know that, you shouldn't have them in the first place...

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Gun Cam

All armed officers should have a camera attached to the weapon that starts rolling as soon as the safety is switched off.

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Bronze badge

There is the stupidity aspect

As with the BART killing, and with this deceased chap, and with many other deaths by police I have seen, the stupidity of the perp is always eye-watering. It's not even always down to ingestion of substances. People are just thick. And the police are part of that group.

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Coat

A difficult call..

But probably the best one the cop could make.

What would YOU have done? Seriously.

I do not believe in a gun-armed population.

This shooting, may not have happened if the perp didn't have a hand gun in the first place.

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Flame

@sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD Reality check please.

"I do not believe in a gun-armed population.

This shooting, may not have happened if the perp didn't have a hand gun in the first place."

And if a frog had wings it wouldn't bump its ass on the ground when it hopped.

I'd rather be armed than sit around "old blighty" waiting for some slimy chav to stab me with a steak knife to knick my iPod, take my purse, or just from sheer boredom.

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Welcome

Oh...

>>>I do not believe in a gun-armed population.

Oh, but they do exist - whether you believe in them or not ;)

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