Police body cameras went ‘dark’ during arrest of Black family in Texas

A woman who called police because a fight between her sons went too far is now in the middle of a legal battle with a Texas police department that she says brutalized her family

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A group of Texas police officers accused of brutalizing a Black family with tasers after they called for help last year violated police policy because they didn’t have their body cameras activated, the Dallas Morning News reports.

Sammie Anderson, who lives on the outskirts of Dallas, called police to assist in a sibling rivalry between her sons after a brutal confrontation left them battered, according to the Morning News.

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But the responding DeSoto, Tex., police officers also didn’t wear their body camera gear, which is in violation of the department’s policies which requires officers to have the equipment running during arrests and encounters with the public, police chief Joseph Costa admitted in an interview.

After activists called for the videotapes be released, the DeSoto police released the 44-minute video showing chaos as officers swarmed in after being called to settle a dispute between brothers.

But the video footage shows cops threatening to arrest her for being “a pedestrian in the roadway.” Police reportedly tackled Anderson and tased one of her adult sons, who was on the ground already.

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Anderson filed a police brutality complaint with the DeSoto Police Department against the six officers involved on Aug. 7. Anderson contends that the officers falsely arrested two of Anderson’s sons on charges of interfering with officers and a third on suspicion of domestic violence.

The Dallas County district attorney’s office announced it is investigating the family’s claim that they were brutalized.

The Morning News investigated and found through Texas’ open records law that although dashcam video was running, there were lapses in body camera footage or none at all. Journalists synced the dashcam footage with three officers’ cameras and found they were “dark” during the tasing episode. But Costa maintains that his cops did nothing wrong.

Another cop’s camera’s images were blurry. A fifth officer’s camera reportedly was too distant. And a sixth officer at the scene didn’t wear one, Costa said.

Although the family recently filed a $1.5 million civil rights violations, Costa cleared the officers saying they “were unable to substantiate that the officers violated any laws or were outside departmental policies and procedures.’’

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