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Why did Sacramento officers who shot Stephon Clark mute their body cams?



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Police officers in Sacramento, California, boast of their use of body cameras and the rapid release of recorded material as centers of a greater effort to improve public confidence

But the deadly shootout of an unarmed black man, Stephon Clark Police have uncovered a possible flaw in this effort over the last week and opened a new front in the national debate on body cameras: officers ability to turn off the microphone on the device.

Body-scan of the two officers who shot Clark into a court yard after dark on March 1

8 involved chasing an officer shouting "gun" in the mistaken belief that Clark was armed. Then the gunfire. It also covers the consequences when backup arrives and the officers go out on the street. During their escape, an officer says, "Hey, dumb." Then the audio of both cameras is muted while the video continues to show the authorities responding to the scene.

Improved video of a Sacramento County sheriff's helicopter depicts a man later identified as Stephon Clark, 23, shot dead by the Sacramento police after a foot pursuit on Sunday night. Clark was unarmed. Sacramento Police Department

Why the police silenced their body cameras remains unclear. Police Chief Daniel Hahn said last week he could not explain it. He said there were "different reasons" why officers would turn off the sound of their cameras, but he would not say if Clark shooting was one of them. The mute, he said, would be part of the shooting agency's investigation.

The unanswered questions about the muted cameras have fueled mistrust among Clark's family and protesters who have criticized the shootout as an illegal use of force [19659004] "When I heard [about the muted cameras]I felt it was intentional," said Sonia Lewis, a cousin of Clark, last week. "You have to do something that you do not want, that the public hears what you say, and that means if you do not want the truth to come out, it's all a lie."

The family lawyer, Benjamin Crump, is planning to file an indictable death penalty, he told The Daily Beast.

Betty Williams, president of the Sacramento Department of NAACP, said at a news conference on Monday she had requested that the police department attend its protocol for muting body-cams and taking into account changes.


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