‘Hey, mute’: After they shot Stephon Clark, officers cut their audio. And that adds to the outcry

LA TIMES, 31 MARCH 2018, FEAT. PROF. SETH STOUGHTON:

Among the unanswered questions that have fueled anger in the wake of Stephon Clark’s shooting is why officers muted their body cameras after firing 20 shots at the unarmed black man.

Community activists and the Clark family’s attorney say the silencing came at an unsettling moment, as officers were regrouping following the shooting. Sacramento’s police chief said the issue is part of the investigation, adding that the decision to turn off the audio “builds suspicion.”

The incident draws attention to law enforcement rules dictating when officers can switch off the audio on their body cameras, coming at a time when the devices increasingly are being used to record police interactions with the public. Policies on muting cameras vary from department to department.