The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department probably thought it would help their argument to release body camera footage from the fatal shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, but it actually proved an officer violated policy.
Over the weekend, CMPD released video from one dashboard camera and one body camera from the controversial killing.
In the body cam clip, we silently see an officer standing outside Keith's white SUV with his gun drawn. Then, the officer wearing the camera appears to be hitting the truck with his baton.
We see Mr. Scott getting out of his car as the body cam cop runs across the street — with his own weapon drawn — to take cover behind a white pickup truck.
The fatal shots are fired off-camera, and the audio doesn't turn on until the footage shows the 43-year-old already on the ground.
But, as The Washington Post revealed, the officer didn't officially activate the camera until AFTER the father was shot. Steve Tuttle, a spokesman for Taser (the company who made the department's tech), explained how the equipment works, saying:
"When you go on duty, you turn the camera on. But when you turn the camera on it is only in the buffer mode. What it's doing is recording nothing but video. It's recording constantly, but it's only saving the last 30 seconds of video."
So, the camera will only keep 30 seconds of the silent videoleading up to the moment when the officer actually activates it. And, in order to activate the body cam, the wearer has to double-tap a large button on it.
According to the department's body cam policy — which went into effect in June — cops are required to activate their equipment "prior to or in anticipation of" any "voluntary investigative conduct," which is defined as "the mere suspicion of some type of criminal activity by a person."
So, by the CMPD's own rules, the officer wearing the body camera should have activated it the second he left his car after arriving on the scene.