Audit: Nearly one-third of MPD incidents not recorded on body cameras

Some Minneapolis city council members are calling for more oversight at the Minneapolis Police Department over body camera use after a recent audit showed some officers aren’t using their cameras.

City council member Jacob Frey, who is running for mayor, seized on some of the more damning figures in the audit.

“One third of our police officers are not turning on the body cameras when they should,” said Frey. “That's a problem.”

After the July shooting of Justine Damond, in which no body cameras were used, new Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo changed the policy and required every call be recorded.

Body camera video tripled up to 9,000 hours in August. But the audit says both before and after the policy change nearly a third of what should have been recorded was not.

“So 29 percent of videos - based on our data - don't exist,” said Will Tetsell, Minneapolis director of auditing. “That's huge. I think that's a big miss. I think that probably shocked a lot of people.”

The audit also showed use of force incidents being mislabeled when uploaded to the server – 14 percent of the time before the policy change and 31 percent of the time after.

More than half the videos labeled "training," were something else. Training videos are kept only 90 days and not a year, like the other videos.

Council member Linea Palmisano, who pushed for the audit, says it's natural to wonder if those are truly mistakes.

“Are these being labeled as training for some unknown reason or is all this footage being labeled as training so it rolls off the fastest?” said Palmisano.

Mayor Betsy Hodges released the following statement in regards to the audit:

“I’m proud to be the Mayor who brought body cameras to Minneapolis. I’m pleased that the audit shows that Chief Arradondo’s recent policy changes have already led to a dramatic spike in usage. I know that the Chief is taking the audit’s findings into consideration as he works to continuously improve the program.”

An updated audit of the body camera program will be brought before council members by the end of the year.