© 2024 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
WEDH · WEDN · WEDW · WEDY · WNPR
WPKT · WRLI-FM · WEDW-FM · Public Files Contact
ATSC 3.0 FAQ
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Lamont signs bill to clarify when police can pause body cameras

A screen grab from the body camera of Connecticut State Trooper Romeo Lumpkin, shows the seconds before 59-year-old Byron Harvey (left) was shot in the abdomen by Lumpkin during eviction proceedings Tuesday, May 09, 2023, in Brooklyn, Ct. 'You’re going to have to shoot me,” said Harvey, “If you don’t, I’m going to get at least one of you,'" the video shows.
Provided
/
Office of the Inspector General
Holding a knife in his right hand and approaching officers, a screen grab from the body camera of Connecticut State Trooper Romeo Lumpkin, shows the seconds before 59-year-old Byron Harvey was shot in the abdomen by Lumpkin during eviction proceedings Tuesday, May 09, 2023, in Brooklyn, Ct. 'You’re going to have to shoot me,” said Harvey, “If you don’t, I’m going to get at least one of you,'" the video shows.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont on Tuesday signed into law a bill requiring police officers be trained on exactly when they can and cannot pause their body-worn cameras.

Under existing law, police officers have discretion on when they can pause audio and video recording if they believe such recording would hinder an investigation. The new legislation gives the state’s Police Officer Standards and Training Council, or POST, until October to develop mandatory guidelines.

State Sen. Gary Winfield (D-New Haven), chair of the General Assembly’s Judiciary Committee and champion of legislation that began requiring police body camera usage in Connecticut in 2021, said the law will be helpful to both the public and the police.

“Body-worn cameras are the way in which we can get to the bottom of what actually has happened,” Winfield said. “I think it’s important because there are real things that happen that we don’t want to happen, but there are also folks who say things about our police that aren’t accurate, and we need to know what’s really happening.”

“I want folks to have a real sense that when we say that the majority of police officers are doing their job in exactly the way that they’re supposed to do it, that that’s true,” he said.

The legislation, which passed unanimously in both the state House and Senate, was supported before passage by the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut. ACLU CT Policy Counsel Jess Zaccagnino testified before the Judiciary Committee in support of the bill.

“If police officers are given discretion as to when to turn on and off their cameras and key moments go uncaptured when violence erupts, they will cause harm,” Zaccagnino testified. “For example, when police officers fail to turn on body cameras before shooting or injuring someone, they put courts at risk of reaching catastrophically unjust results. A guilty police officer, someone with enormous power, could escape liability, and an innocent person could be wrongfully convicted.”

A spokesperson for POST said the agency does not take a position on legislation.

Chris Polansky joined Connecticut Public in March 2023 as a general assignment and breaking news reporter based in Hartford. Previously, he’s worked at Utah Public Radio in Logan, Utah, as a general assignment reporter; Lehigh Valley Public Media in Bethlehem, Pa., as an anchor and producer for All Things Considered; and at Public Radio Tulsa in Tulsa, Okla., where he both reported and hosted Morning Edition.

Stand up for civility

This news story is funded in large part by Connecticut Public’s Members — listeners, viewers, and readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

We hope their support inspires you to donate so that we can continue telling stories that inform, educate, and inspire you and your neighbors. As a community-supported public media service, Connecticut Public has relied on donor support for more than 50 years.

Your donation today will allow us to continue this work on your behalf. Give today at any amount and join the 50,000 members who are building a better—and more civil—Connecticut to live, work, and play.

Related Content