Here’s an entirely unsurprising but appalling story. LAPD officers that are assigned to inner city neighborhoods have been disabling the antennae that allow their conversations to be monitored by their superiors and to be recorded for future use in tracking their actions.
Los Angeles police officers removed antennas from police cars in several predominantly Black neighborhoods to disable the recording equipment and avoid being monitored while on duty, according to an inspection by LAPD investigators.
The department review found about half of the 80 cars in the Southeast division—which includes Watts and the Jordan Downs and Nickerson Gardens housing projects—were missing the antennas that help capture what officers say in the field. The review discovered at least 10 more cars in nearby divisions also had antennas removed.
Members of the Police Commission, which oversees the department, said they were alarmed by both the actions of the officers and the failure of the department to reveal their actions when they were first detected.
“On an issue like this, we need to be brought in right away,” commission President Steve Soboroff told the Los Angeles Times. “This equipment is for the protection of the public and of the officers. To have people who don’t like the rules to take it upon themselves to do something like this is very troubling.”
The chief of police said he warned the officers but didn’t see any point in trying to figure out who disabled them because several officers might use the same car during a shift. There’s an easy solution to that: Every single police officer should wear cameras on their uniforms that record every movement during a shift. And if they try to turn them off, there should be serious and immediate consequences.