Denver Police Going Ahead With Body Cameras Despite Union Lawsuit

DENVER (CBS4) – The Denver Police Protective Association filed a lawsuit against the City of Denver on Wednesday over its body camera policy and the Denver Police Department has responded to the suit.

The association said it supports the use of body cameras but objects to the city’s “failure to seek input from the 1,310 Denver police officers represented by the association.”

“We have had officers involved in the policy since the Day 1. We had a committee of officers who actually were in a pilot program with about 100 cameras,” said Denver Police Deputy Chief Matt Murray.

The association claims Denver hastily adopted the use of body cameras as a policing tool. They also claim the body camera program breeds distrust among community members.

(credit: CBS)

The association also claims that “The City Charter requires that the city negotiate with the association over matters of ‘personal safety and health equipment’ for an obvious reason — if the officers employing body cameras distrust their use in the field, this vital policing tool will fail at its inception. Yet, the city has refused to follow its own charter. For that reason, the association has filed suit to compel the city to fix its flawed policy.”

The association said it’s not trying to stop the implementation of body cameras but to have Denver fix its flawed policy.

Denver police said they’ll allow the judicial process to take its course.

“There are lawsuits all the time. The courts have their jobs and we will respect that process and we also have things we have to do and certainly we will react appropriately if the courts tell us to stop and if they don’t, we’ll move forward,” Murray said.

The union says it’s illegal for the department to use the body cameras during litigation about their use.

“We understand that the PPA has a position, and they have the right to litigate that position through the courts, and that’s the choice they are making,” Murray said. “We as a city are moving forward with body cameras.”

The union believes the body cameras might have serious impact on crime victims, witnesses, and people in crisis where video footage may capture citizens in vulnerable points in their life.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock’s office told CBS4 they are open to discussions with the union on the topic of police body cameras.

http://denver.cbslocal.com/2015/11/04/lawsuit-filed-against-denver-over-police-body-cameras/