Mayor calls for revision, independent audit of MPD body cam policy

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges is calling for the Minneapolis Police Department to revise its body camera policy and institute an independent audit of the program in the wake of the fatal officer-involved shooting of Justine Damond. 

Damond was shot and killed by Officer Mohammed Noor in the Fulton neighborhood on Sunday night after calling 911 to report a possible sexual assault near her house. Neither Noor nor his partner, Officer Matthew Harrity, had their body camera turned on at the time of the shooting.

In a statement released Thursday, Hodges said it is “unacceptable” that there is no body camera footage of the incident.

“Body cams should have been on in case like this,” Hodges said.

The MPD fully implemented their body camera program approximately eight months ago, requiring the devices to be activated for any searches, any contact involving physical or verbal confrontations and prior to any use of force. If a body camera is not activated prior to a use of force, "it shall be activated as soon as it is safe to do so."

According to Hodges, MPD had been looking into how to strengthen its body camera policy prior to the shooting, and she said she expects they will take Justine’s shooting death into account when making adjustments.

“We have put too much time, money and effort into [body cameras] to have them fail us when we need them the most,” she said. “That cannot happen again.”

From now on, Hodges said body cameras should be active the moment an officer begins responding to a call, whether it comes from dispatch or is initiated from by the officer.

In her statement, Hodges also called for an independent audit of the city’s body camera program--although state law requires an independent audit every two years anyways. She said she will work with the city’s Audit Committee, the Office of Police Conduct Review and the Police Conduct Oversight Commission to begin the audit process as soon as possible.

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