Sacramento police issue new rules about muting body cameras after protests against police killings

The order was issued after a police body camera footage captured someone telling officers to mute their cameras last month after an unarmed black man, Stephon Clark, was killed


                            Sacramento police issue new rules about muting body cameras after protests against police killings
(Source: Getty Images)

The Sacramento Police Department on Tuesday issued new directions on muting of the body cameras worn by its police officers, detailing how and when the officers can mute their devices.

The directive is reportedly a temporary one, according to reports.

The order was issued after a police body camera footage captured someone telling officers to mute their cameras last month after an unarmed black man, Stephon Clark, was fatally shot by the officers.

The clip stirred suspicion amongst the members of the black community, according to reports.

A protester holding a sign with a picture of Stephon Clark. (Getty Images)

The Sacramento police officers reportedly fired at least 20 shots at 22-year-old Clark, who was standing in his grandmother's backyard. Police later said that the officers were responding to a report that a man had broken car windows and was hiding in a backyard. They also explained that they shot at Clark because they believed he was pointing a gun at them. He was later found to be unarmed with only a cell phone near him. 

The case sparked outrage in the region, where hundreds of demonstrators rallied for justice and protested against police shootings of unarmed black men.

Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn told the city council on Tuesday that the order is effective immediately while the department works on updating its policy. During the session, he also answered several queries on police procedures.

A protester demanding justice for the death of Stephon Clark by Sacramento police officers. (Getty Images)

Hahn added that under the new directive, the officers can mute or deactivate their body cameras when they are talking to a doctor, a nurse or a paramedic.

The rule also applies to when a witness or a victim refuses to give a recorded statement, he added.

The police chief also told the council that other instances include when officers are working with rape or sexual assault cases, in extraordinary circumstances and only with an approval of their supervisor, according to CNN

"Any time an officer deactivates or mutes their camera, they must now audibly record on that camera the reason for the deactivation and muting before ever muting," Hahn said, while adding that around the time of Clark's death, the police department addressed deactivation, however, the muting of the body cameras was not.