Evans police body camera footage used to confirm excessive force complaint

From The Greeley Tribune:  Last month, Evans police Chief Rick Brandt participated in a panel discussion about body-worn cameras and publicly revealed an incident some chiefs might prefer to sweep under the rug.

In July, following the arrest of a man suspected of being involved in a fight at a house party, Brandt fired one of his officers after camera footage confirmed he had used excessive force while placing the man into custody.

“The vast majority of the time — something like 90 percent, according to studies I’ve seen recently — officers are being exonerated of wrongdoing by body camera footage,” Brandt said. “Sometimes officers make a bad decision or let their emotions dictate their behavior. In this case we had some evidence that allowed us to make the difficult decision to let that officer go.”

Evans represents one of only a handful of police departments in the state that has issued body cameras to all of its sworn officers. Brandt — who also serves as president of the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police — was asked to share some of his agency’s experiences with the new technology.

During the discussion Oct. 10 at the 2015 Freedom of Information Summit hosted in Denver by the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition, Brandt highlighted three noteworthy incidents, including one in March when officers asked a suspect to place his cellphone and car keys on the trunk of a police cruiser prior to a pat down. The man was arrested on a warrant, and the officers forgot to collect the man’s belongings before driving him to jail. The camera footage confirmed the mistake, and the man was able to file a claim with the city for reimbursement.

In another incident, officers were investigating a case of vandalism at a local park and detained a juvenile they thought was responsible. Upon further investigation, the officers learned the boy had nothing to do with the crime and released him.

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