“I am here this morning to advise you that the Vancouver Police Department has formally apologized to the Province newspaper for retaining the camera belonging to their photographer Jason Payne for longer than we should have,” Chief Jim Chu told reporters during a morning news briefing.
Chu did not specify just how long an officer should hold onto a camera before it becomes inappropriate. In Payne’s case, it was an hour.
Chu said officers have since been told they don’t have blanket authority to take cameras from the media or the public, unless they have made an arrest, have a warrant or believe important evidence may be destroyed.
He also did not mention the fact that his officers have been accused of destroying this very same evidence he believes in preserving.
In March, Vancouver police were accused of deleting a civilian’s cell phone video after they were filmed shooting and killing a suspect. Adam Smolcic said he has been unable to recover the footage.
Perhaps one day we’ll get to the point when officers learn they “don’t have blanket authority to take cameras” while they’re still in the police academy.