In nearly half the bodycam videos reviewed, DC police break the rules

D.C. police officers wear body cameras every day and are supposed to record every interaction. In nearly half the incidents sent to the complaints office, where that footage is reviewed, officers broke department policy.

In the nearly 800 cases reviewed by workers in D.C.’s Office of Police Complaints, they noticed a trend.

“We saw that a total of 45% of all the cases we investigated that had body-worn camera footage included some sort of noncompliance with policies and procedures,” Michael Tobin, who runs the office, said.

In very few cases, the officer forgot to turn the camera in interactions.

“The majority of it is … an officer not telling the community member that, ‘Hey, you are being recorded.’ And then the second biggest violation that we’re seeing is officers turning off the camera too early,” he told Chair Brooke Pinto, Ward 2 council member, during a Public Safety and Judiciary Committee oversight hearing.

The office has seen about 800 complaints a year since 2017.

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up