Two Los Angeles police officers responded to a report of a possible dead body inside a home and found a deceased woman. When one left the room, the other officer deactivated his body camera.
Unbeknown to him, though, the camera continued recording.
The footage it captured allegedly showed the unnamed officer fondling the dead woman’s breasts when he thought no one was watching.
A spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department confirmed that an officer has been removed from duty pending an internal investigation into the footage, which will determine whether the officer violated department policies and if his actions merit termination.
The incident, which was first reported by the Los Angeles Times, surfaced during a random review of body-camera footage. It is unclear when the officers responded to the call at the Los Angeles home or how long the alleged fondling lasted. According to the newspaper, the LAPD’s police chief and union agreed last month to allow random inspections of body-camera recordings to ensure officers interact appropriately with the city’s residents and visitors. Police supervisors could previously review footage after arrests, use-of-force incidents or complaints from the public.
The body camera captured the incident even after the officer tried to disable it because of a two-minute buffer, which saves footage recorded for two minutes before the device is turned on, the Associated Press reported. When the officer restarted the camera at the scene, it saved the preceding two minutes and allegedly caught him abusing the corpse.
Apologists for the police will note this is an isolated incident. People who are serious will recognize that the police attracts, develops, and encourages the worst people in American society to be the biggest thugs possible, the most obscene racists, the greatest violators of civil liberties, the most reprehensible abusers of people. Of course, the first course of action here is that the police should have no ability to ever turn off their body cameras. But given the essentially endless ability of the police to resist any real monitoring of their horrors, that’s a hard row to hoe.