Accusations of Detroit police not wearing body cameras increase, board says

Concerns have been raised about Detroit police officers not having their body cameras on during police stops and crime-scene investigations.

The police department is now reviewing the claims, some of which were made by members of the Detroit Police Board of Commissioners. 

"There has been way too many cases than our office had initially expected, and these numbers are starting to rise," said Police Commissioner Willie Burton.

Body cameras became a tool for police departments several years ago – to protect citizens and departments against claims of misconduct. But if they're not being worn, or they're not turned on, that is a problem. 

One such case involves a Detroit police lieutenant who told a pro-Palestinian protester to "go back to Mexico" during a demonstration outside an NAACP fundraiser featuring President Joe Biden. Burton said that lieutenant did not have his body camera on.

Detroit officers were first fitted with body-worn cameras as part of a pilot program back in 2016; it was expanded after that. 

"Our investigators sit there and do a canvass, so they pull all of the surrounding video. And when they look at the video, one of the things that may not be in a video is the officer having his camera turned on or turning his camera off too early," Burton said. "And so those are things that our investigators flag."

Commissioner Willie Burton called for officers to wear their cameras at all times. 

According to Detroit police, the majority of officers do use their body-worn cameras. An audit will be conducted to ensure compliance, and investigations will be held into officers who do not have their cameras rolling during critical incidents.


Detroit lieutenant suspended after telling protester to 'go back to Mexico'

A Detroit police lieutenant was suspended after telling a pro-Palestine protester "why don’t you just go back to Mexico?"