When body cams were introduced for police officers, people saw it as a way to hold cops accountable for their actions.
Instead, what *actually* happened is that the police found every excuse in the book to not use them. A police officer kills a dude? Whoops, body camera accidentally turned off. Crazy how that happens. Police kill a schizophrenic guy on the street? Sorry mate, just forgot to turn the thing on — I’m such a klutz! A cop is recorded telling other officers to turn their body cams off after she killed a man? Uh… pass.
Sometimes, however, a cop genuinely does forget to turn off their body camera — and boy, oh boy, are the results great. Take, for example, the group of Texas officers who took an eviction as an opportunity to loot a house.
There are three officers involved in this case — Constable Curtis Traylor-Harris, Chief Deputy LaQuenda Banks and Sergeant Derrick Holman.
The officers proceed to treat the house like an all-you-can-steal buffet. The group nabs watches, sunglasses (at point exclaiming, “Ohh, Ray-Bans!”) and anything else that appears to have value. The camera clearly catches Banks stuffing several items into her shirt, and per Yahoo! News, she told the current homeowner “don’t come down here” as she proceeded to sort through and steal their items.
For the rest of the officers, they move through the house with the chilling calm of people who have done this many, many times before. “To justify the lengthy search, Harris and Banks tell the woman they found ‘cocaine, marijuana and paraphernalia’ and that she needs to wait outside while they finish searching the home,” the Yahoo! News article reads. It’s unclear, however, if this is actually true or if the officers were lying to buy more time in the house.
Cop forgets her body-cam is on, gets caught stealing someone's stuff
According to the victim, the officers ended up taking “four watches, a partial box of .22 caliber ammunition, a box that could contain Apple AirPods, Oakley sunglasses, Ray-Ban sunglasses, makeup and a safe containing antique coins, a quarter collection, military medals, a diploma, a birth certificate and a social security card.” Also, “more than $750 in cash was also reported missing.” Shoutout to whoever designed those police uniforms for including so many pockets!
Naturally, this video didn’t remain private for long. Soon, the three officers were indicted in connection to the theft. They also had their peace officer licenses suspended. Now, let’s go over the punishments. Traylor-Harris was found guilty of theft by a public servant and was given five years probation along with a $10,000 fine. Holman was acquitted, and Banks, the person who accidentally filmed the whole thing, received just 18 months probation.
Little tip for next time these officers evict someone: The little red light means the camera is on, not off.