Clear Dashboard and Body Cam Video are Vital to Potential Litigation

The Eleventh Circuit recently overruled an Alabama district court’s grant of qualified immunity to an officer where the video recordings from two separate police dashcams failed to accurately show a tussle where an officer utilized a leg sweep which ultimately partially paralyzed the plaintiff. Because one officer who was on scene blocked one camera’s view and because the other dashcam was too far away and grainy, the appellate court found that it was “impossible to observe forceful wretching, let alone movements, by [the plaintiff].” Relying on the plaintiff’s version of facts, as one must at the summary judgment stage, the court found that a jury could reasonably find the plaintiff was not resisting. With the video technology now available and, in most instances, required by present day issues, it is important for officers to be mindful of their cameras as useful tools in chronicling arrests. The Eleventh Circuit opinion can be found here.

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