Police Wrongdoing Costly . . . .
I read recently about the wrongdoing of law enforcement in Gardenia, California, which resulted in costly monetary payments. A police dashboard camera captured officers shooting a Latino male.
Video released by a federal judge after news media organizations argued the public had the right to view the footage showing the victim disobeying orders to keep his hands up, but with his palms open by his waist.
Judge Stephen V. Wilson unsealed the video so the public could see what led the city of Gardena to pay $4.7 million to settle a lawsuit with the victim's family and a second man wounded in the shooting that followed a botched report of a bicycle theft early the morning of June 2, 2013.
"The fact that they spent the city's money, presumable derived from taxes, only strengthens the public's interest in viewing the videos," Wilson wrote in a 13-page decision. "Moreover, defendants cannot assert a valid compelling interest in sealing the videos to cover up any wrongdoing on their part or to shield themselves from embarrassment."
This ruling came amid public debates over what footage should be made public as police officers and police cars are equipped with cameras to capture evidence that can be used against criminals or to hold officers accountable for their own behavior.