L.A. police to video major incidents after clash

/ Source: The Associated Press

This city’s police department will have a camera crew follow officers during major incidents in an effort to avoid a repeat of a May protest that police broke up  with batons.

“Every 15 minutes or 30 minutes, the incident commander will narrate what is occurring at the event,” Deputy Chief Mike Hillman told the Los Angeles Times.

Officials hope the cameras will provide a record of what happened and serve as a reminder for officers to be on their best behavior.

During the May 1 immigration rally at MacArthur Park, television cameras recorded officers swinging batons and firing non-lethal weapons at protesters and journalists.

Chief William J. Bratton has expressed concerns over the actions and demoted two commanders who oversaw the incident. Police and FBI probes are continuing.

Department videographers have long worked with the department in an ancillary role which will now be expanded.

“Everything we do needs to be documented so we have an accounting of our actions,” said Hillman, who developed the idea.

In the age of cell phone cameras, LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith said he tells officers that “each and every action you take on the streets is likely to be on video.”

Beyond documenting events, officials say, images can allow them to make better decisions during an incident.