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BASF Board of Directors Offers Opinion on Protocol for San Francisco Police Body-Worn Cameras

Letter to the Police Commission follows extensive study and debate by task force

December 1, 2015 – San Francisco – In January 2015, The Bar Association of San Francisco’s (BASF) Board of Directors commissioned its Criminal Justice Task Force to examine current practices impacting racial bias and discrimination in the San Francisco criminal justice system.  One of the task force’s sub-committees reviewed body camera protocols in surrounding cities in anticipation of San Francisco’s decision to equip all police officers with body worn cameras in 2016.

The sub-committee’s recommendation to the BASF Board of Directors was approved by the board and a letter was sent to the San Francisco Police Commission for their review at their December 2, 2015, hearing with these recommended guidelines:

BASF believes that an officer should not review body camera footage prior to authorizing a report in two specific instances:

  1. In a case where there is any use of force by an officer
  2. When an officer is the subject of any criminal or administrative investigation

According to 2015 BASF President Timothy Moppin, Bassi Edlin Huie & Blum, “BASF and its task force have extensively debated the issue of whether an officer should have an opportunity to review body camera footage prior to authoring a police report.  We believe that an officer should not review body camera footage in any case involving use of force by an officer, and any case where the officer is the subject of a criminal or administrative investigation.  This will promote fairness and integrity in the investigative process, and will ensure that officer's observations are pure and uncontaminated.” 

BASF also encourages the San Francisco Police Commission to require periodic review of the protocol saying in its letter, “These reviews would provide an opportunity for additional research and study to ensure that the SFPD [San Francisco Police Department] has the most effective and efficient body worn camera protocol available.”

Read a copy of the complete letter.


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