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South Bend OKs random inspections for body camera footage

Posted at 1:18 PM, Dec 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-21 13:18:07-05

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — A new policy adopted in the wake of a black man's fatal shooting by a white South Bend police officer calls for random inspections of officers' body camera footage and for officers to state a reason before they end a recording.

The new policy was approved Wednesday by the city's Board of Public Safety. The policy has been under scrutiny since the June 16 shooting of 54-year-old Eric Logan by South Bend police Sgt. Ryan O'Neill. Pete Buttigieg, who's seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, is mayor of South Bend, and the shooting prompted him to leave the campaign trail for several days to answer questions about public safety and race.

O’Neill resigned in July. His shooting of Logan wasn't captured on police video because O’Neill’s dash and body cameras weren’t activated.

Police have said that O’Neill, responding to a report of someone breaking into cars, opened fire after Logan approached him with a knife. Logan's family has sued O'Neill and the city in federal court, alleging excessive deadly force.

Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski told the public safety board Wednesday that the new changes to the city's body camera policy provide “another layer of oversight” by supervisors.

The new requirements call for sergeants to randomly sample at least five videos each month from officers they supervise, and to review at least 15 minutes of footage from each subordinate three or more times per year, the South Bend Tribune reported.

The sergeants must check for discrepancies between the videos and officers’ reports, and to pass positive and negative findings up the chain of command.

Another new provision requires an officer, before stopping a recording, to speak into the device and state the reason why the recording is being ended.