NYPD shuts down 2,000 bodycams after ‘detonated’ Manhattan police camera is carried

The NYPD ordered 2,000 officers to dump their body cameras after a Manhattan cop wearing a particular model ripped the device off the device just before it exploded.

A 34th district police officer in Inwood on Monday discovered smoke from the underside of his Axon AB2 camera attached to his jacket and immediately removed it.

The device “ignited” when the unknown police officer took off his jacket, the NYPD said in a press release on Tuesday.

He was taken to a hospital “as a precaution,” the statement said, where he was treated and released after suffering from tinnitus caused by the explosion.

“The incident revealed a potential problem with the battery in the camera,” the NYPD said.

An Axon 2 body camera (pictured) exploded Monday after a 34th District NYPD officer found himself catching a camera

An Axon 2 body camera (pictured) exploded Monday after a 34th District NYPD officer found himself catching a camera

The NYPD said it would remove all 2,000 Axons from the 23,000 body cameras in use

The NYPD said it would remove all 2,000 Axons from the 23,000 body cameras in use

The NYPD said it would remove all 2,000 Axons from the 23,000 body cameras in use

The NYPD later revealed that all of its 2,000 Axons were decommissioned — just a small fraction of the 23,000 body-worn cameras owned by police.

The department also pointed out that it was already getting rid of the older Axons for the newer model: the Axon AB3.

Police Commissioner Dermot Shea demanded “immediate investigation of all Axon AB2 model cameras” after the camera caught fire.

“Our top priority is to protect the men and women of the NYPD,” the statement said.

A spokesman for the NYPD later told the New York Post that “at the end of the business day, December 7, all Axon AB2 cameras were inspected. If there is any sign of a problem – the back plate is bulging – the battery and back panel will be replaced.”

The bizarre incident happened three years after another NYPD camera model exploded. About 3,000 Vievu LE-5 cameras were removed by the department, police said at the time.

The Axon 3 body camera

The Axon 3 body camera

The Woflcom Halo

The Woflcom Halo

By 2016, about 47 percent of the 15,328 general-purpose law enforcement agencies in the U.S. had purchased body-worn cameras

3,000 Vievu model LE-5 cameras (pictured) were removed from the department after one caught fire in 2018

3,000 Vievu model LE-5 cameras (pictured) were removed from the department after one caught fire in 2018

3,000 Vievu model LE-5 cameras (pictured) were removed from the department after one caught fire in 2018

Body-worn cameras are increasingly used by US law enforcement agencies and often play a central role in high-profile incidents. But major differences remain in how they are used and when the images are made public.

Conflicting testimony from the police recording of Michael Brown, a mlack man, in 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri, led the administration of former President Barack Obama to fund body-worn camera shows in 32 states.

By 2016, about 47 percent of the 15,328 general law enforcement agencies in the U.S. had purchased cameras, according to a 2018 report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the most recent study to measure nationwide use.

Larger agencies were more likely to adopt the devices. One notable exception is the Portland, Oregon Police Department, which dropped its body-wearing pilot program in 2020, citing “major budget constraints.”

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, seven states — Colorado, Connecticut, New Mexico, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey and South Carolina — have mandated the use of full-body cameras.

States have different laws governing how recordings from body-worn cameras can be released. At least 12 states, including Massachusetts and West Virginia, had no laws as of October 2018 regulating public access to body-worn camera footage, leaving it to agencies to decide how, according to the Urban Institute think tank. the images are released.

Of the states that do regulate access, North Carolina has one of the most restrictive laws, requiring anyone seeking a copy of a body-worn camera recording to get court approval.

In contrast, a new Colorado law requires recordings to be released to the public within 21 days of receiving a complaint of misconduct, with exceptions for privacy concerns or cases where the release would impede an investigation.

More than half of the United States, as of October 2018, didn’t have a rule dictating where, when and how body-worn cameras should be used, according to the Urban Institute. Several states have since enacted new rules.

Colorado, New Jersey, New Mexico and New York, for example, passed laws in 2020 requiring officers to wear cameras on the job, although New York law only applies to state police.

With a few exceptions, such as cases where citizens ask for cameras to be turned off, the law requires police to record every encounter with members of the public.

The average activation of body-worn cameras for police officers in Anaheim, California, ranged from 0 percent to 72 percent, according to a 2015 study co-authored by Daniel Lawrence, a police expert at the Urban Institute.

Audio and video recordings from body-worn cameras are often sought-after police kills, including the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis agent Derek Chauvin. Prosecutors used Chauvin’s CCTV footage to convince a jury to convict the former officer on April 20.

New York passed laws in 2020 requiring officers to wear cameras while on duty, although New York law only applies to state police.  Pictured: An NYPD officer in riot gear seen with body camera at a protest

New York passed laws in 2020 requiring officers to wear cameras while on duty, although New York law only applies to state police.  Pictured: An NYPD officer in riot gear seen with body camera at a protest

New York passed laws in 2020 requiring officers to wear cameras while on duty, although New York law only applies to state police. Pictured: An NYPD officer in riot gear seen with body camera at a protest

Nearly two-thirds of prosecutors use body-worn CCTV as evidence, according to a 2016 survey by the Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy at George Mason University. The survey found that 8.3 percent of offices in jurisdictions with body-worn cameras had used the footage to prosecute police officers, while 92.6 percent had used it to prosecute individuals.

According to a 2020 report by the National Police Foundation, which summarized 10 years of research on the subject, officers wearing body cameras appear to have consistently filed fewer complaints against them than officers without cameras.

Civil rights advocates say timely release of body-worn CCTV footage, balanced with privacy concerns, is critical to holding law enforcement accountable.

Many police officers applaud the transparency as the footage can be used to exonerate officers accused of racist or violent acts, while others say the videos only provide partial views of incidents and could skew public reactions.

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