But for (Deleted) Video

Monday, April 16th, 2012

A reporter records an Albuquerque cop allegedly beating a club patron in the club parking lot. The cop arrests the reporter and confiscates the tape.

A judge later throws out the charges against the reporter.

But what about the tape? Turns out the cop neglected to tag it into evidence, then took it home for a private viewing. Somehow, miraculously, when the cop returned the tape, the video of her beating the club patron had been deleted. She has no idea how this happened.

This all comes by way of a civil suit filed by the reporter. The officer was never charged with a crime, and still works for the Albuquerque Police Department.

It’s really quite amazing how often these odd electronic glitches accidentally destroy videos that depict alleged police misconduct.

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25 Responses to “But for (Deleted) Video”

  1. #1 |  Juice | 

    Why wasn’t the cop charged with evidence tampering?

  2. #2 |  CSD | 

    The new job the reporter ended up with seems strange to me.

    “Rodda now works for the New Mexico Corrections Department as director of public information.”

  3. #3 |  kant | 

    @juice

    How are the literally hundreds of examples of police deleting video not charged with evidence tampering? because they’re cops. And if they can get away with raiding the wrong address brutally maiming and killing dogs and sometimes people, accosting a repo man and essentially stealing a legally repossessed truck (after threatening to kill him if he showed up again), pepper spraying/tazing at will, lying about dogs giving a “positive indication of drugs” so they can perform random searches, simply shouting “stop resisting” and having free reign to the beat people within an inch of their life, Then deleting video is child’s play.

  4. #4 |  Al V | 

    But the officer should be in deep trouble… (yes of course I know better , but in a just society…)

    He said the tape was sent to an expert, who was able to retrieve the clip and determine the clip was deleted while Lopez had the camera.

    “We have proof that she deleted the clip,” said Crow. “It’s a pretty egregious case; I think the officer almost committed a crime by tampering with evidence.

  5. #5 |  Michael Chaney | 

    She didn’t “confiscate” anything – she stole it.

  6. #6 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    I was a defendant in a 2002 DUI case in FLA. The cop
    was just back from administrative leave from shooting a drunk teen dead
    and pulled me over and we started arguing about
    what I was required to do for him.
    The atty told me she was going to get the tape. Then
    she requested a trial even though the tape never came,
    she said it had been “destroyed.” So I fired her right there in court and requested a new atty.
    The new atty filed a motion for the tape and the next thing I knew
    they were offering a plea for Reckless. Sweet deal.
    My point is, when your a cop/DA and a huge part
    of your MO is fearmongering and truth-distortion, these
    videotapes become “hot potatoes” and change the whole
    tone of the prosecution.
    So you might think this NM case is an anomaly or rare event. It’s not.

  7. #7 |  Judas Peckerwood | 

    @#5 — I can’t think of a time when I’ve heard the term “confiscate” used when it wasn’t a case of strong-arm robbery.

  8. #8 |  35-year lawyer | 

    Good move firing your attorney. Many lawyers who “practice” low level criminal law are doing so for a reason. Clients need to be alert

    A great many prosecutors are cop wanna-bees who distain the danger but want the power trip. And they get it (also, curtesy of the Supreme Court’s imagination, absolute immunity for wrongdoing). They can suborn perjury in color on 35mm tape with perfect audio and YOU can’t sue. Another prosecutor may bring charges, a judge may not throw out the case, and, if convicted, they may get probation. In many states the loss of their legal license isn’t a sure thing. Becuase, of course, everyone IN the CJ System is thinking “there, for the grace of God, go I.”

  9. #9 |  Andrew Roth | 

    Another Officer Stephanie L. with temper and discipline problems and a history of evidence tampering? Wow. I’m just sayin’.

    Seriously, though, Albuquerque PD’s failure to discipline Lopez is damning. She should be fired, and whether it’s because the brass are impotent or unwilling, their failure to fire her suggests that discipline and oversight of the Albuquerque police force is effectively nonexistent.

    These cases are starting to make me wonder whether egregious police misconduct is mainly just shifting inland (the big exception is the NYPD, which is going to hell in a handbasket again). Maybe the trouble was there all along and the press just wasn’t looking, but one of the most heinous cases to come to light recently happened in Denver, followed by this case in Albuquerque, and of course Joe Arpaio has largely gotten a pass for being a huge horse’s ass because he’s a telegenic publicity hound. (I wouldn’t expect the dolts who do most national police beat coverage to look for trouble in something as boring as AZPOST recruitment standards.) Meanwhile, the LAPD and, amazingly, the New Orleans PD, appear to be really cleaning up their acts, both under chiefs who rose through the ranks but have the courage to fire bad cops.

  10. #10 |  35-year lawyer | 

    The problem is insurance. Even if the wronged citizen wins, NO ONE FEELS THE PAIN. Not the officer (who often gets promoted), not the Chief, not the Department, not the Mayor or Council, not the City, no one. Except the tax payers who’s rate goes up by another .05/$1000.

    So there is NO incentive to prevent or punish this conduct. They all laugh it off.

  11. #11 |  picachu | 

    “It’s really quite amazing how often these odd electronic glitches accidentally destroy videos that depict alleged police misconduct.”

    No, what’s what’s amazing is how the parts of government that are supposed to be in authority over the police are so scared of them that they allow them to continually get away with this stuff. We’re seeing a progression-when cops learned that they were allowed to beat black people with impunity they graduated to the point where they could beat anybody and now they’re even fucking with the press. I guess until they beat the fuck out of the president or someone really important nothing’s going to change.

  12. #12 |  nigmalg | 

    Destruction of evidence. Open and shut case, right?

  13. #13 |  Andrew Roth | 

    It’s also worrisome that the officer responsible in this case is female. One of the advantages of hiring women as cops is that they tend to have enough street smarts and manners to compensate for their inferior physical strength (a gap that a proper police academy PT regimen will substantially narrow, in any event). This is also a good reason to dispense with height requirements and hire short guys who have street smarts and manners. Including these people in the recruiting pool helps reduce the number of meatheads on the force who provoke fights because they figure that they’re big and strong enough to kick anyone’s ass. It helps make sure that the big guys have to demonstrate that they aren’t assholes or loose cannons in order to get hired, just like everyone else. (A good police force doesn’t hire a bunch of officious little Napoleons, either.)

    It occurs to me that maybe the stage-managed dominatrix aggression of the “Police Women” series is starting to influence real policewomen in the United States. I certainly doubt that “COPS” had a good influence on the generation of real cops whose pensions are now starting to vest. Americans spend so much fucking time in front of the boob tube that this sort of mental corruption seems plausible. Many Americans have a serious problem discerning reality from television spectacles, and it’s clear that many police commanders are asleep at the switch, complicit or hamstrung.

    We badly need commanders who tell their cops that if they wish to be roller derby queens or UFC cretins when off duty, that’s their business, but they need to leave the act at the precinct door and be cops–specifically, good cops, because bad cops don’t go home.

    The same thing should apply to Ehrenbaum keepers like our Germanic friend in Portland (saith the Roth calling the Kruger Teutonic): as long as you don’t channel the SS at work, whatever, but please, for the love of God, get permission from the owner of the tree first.

  14. #14 |  John P. | 

    So I guess… I have always wondered, without advocating violence, just how much longer will the public stand for this, before they take the law into their own hands?

  15. #15 |  Sean | 

    somewhat off -topic, but here’s the latest outrageous puppycide here in Texas http://www.kxan.com/dpp/news/local/austin/officers-mistake-leads-to-dogs-death . Austin cop goes to the wrong house, then blows away the dog the owner was playing with just moments before. You can see the cops heartless reaction afterwards here : https://www.facebook.com/JusticeForCisco

  16. #16 |  Dante | 

    “It’s really quite amazing how often these odd electronic glitches accidentally destroy videos that depict alleged police misconduct.”

    Even more amazing is how infrequently these misbehaving police are held accountable. If the story is true, how could this behavior lead to anything other than jail for the officer involved?

    Oh, yeah. I forgot their motto:

    Protect & Serve (Themselves!)

  17. #17 |  JOR | 

    #11, The problem here is that ‘street smarts’ combined with a title of nobility (authority and privileged legal immunity), is just another tool to be used for oppression, brutality, etc. The problem is not lack of training, or a few loose cannons or bad apples, or even unions – but on the other hand, it’s not just bad commanders or bad policies, either. The whole system is rotten from top to bottom.

    And it always has been. It’s far just more obvious to privileged white people now.

  18. #18 |  Matt | 

    Thank goodness the cops are too stupid to realize that when you “delete” something on solid state (and some magnetic) media it isn’t actually gone.

  19. #19 |  kant | 

    @Matt

    strictly speaking “deleting” anything on non-volatile memory (ssd, hdd) doesn’t actually delete that item. It simply frees it for other use. It is only truly deleted when it’s overwritten.

  20. #20 |  Bobby Black | 

    I declare…another electronic anomaly has occurred. Cops must have some sort of special EMP powers from their years (weeks) of intensive training that focuses their chi into a dynamic array of nega-energy. T’would seem another miracle that the data was recovered by ghost image software that still has yet to be entered into evidence, even though it clearly showed that the deletio—er anomaly had occurred while in the possession of said officer. Curious how there are so many differing sets of rules for folks in uniform and out. Citizen oversight set from state supreme courts need to implemented so that Unions can’t trump city imposed committees as has happened in recent years. These folks in black need to be reminded that they work for US, and we are not simply their revenue sources, but rather the lifesblood of the United States. The people must bring redress to higher courts, because cops have voted themselves out of our reach locally. What do we do Radley? How do we go over their heads? Going to their offices to complain is asking to be brutalized, so…?

  21. #21 |  Stress N. Strain | 

    Here’s a puppycide video that didn’t get deleted:
    Story: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2130834/Man-launches-online-campaign-dog-shot-dead-police-officer-responded-WRONG-address.html
    Video (WARNING: Really fucking sad and upsetting): https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=323622867705120

  22. #22 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Meanwhile, the LAPD and, amazingly, the New Orleans PD, appear to be really cleaning up their acts, both under chiefs who rose through the ranks but have the courage to fire bad cops.

    If this is true, it is wonderful. Most likely these chiefs are firing bad cops because it is beneficial to them today (riding the wave when nothing else will work). Once entrenched, they might very well find it beneficial to cover-up for bad cops again. Pretty easy to understand. Which is why we need to rely less on finding an individual super hero and more on empowering the peasants and weakening the state agents.

  23. #23 |  ben tillman | 

    Destruction of evidence. Open and shut case, right?

    Why bother when the cop actually committed armed robbery?

  24. #24 |  ben tillman | 

    It’s also worrisome that the officer responsible in this case is female. One of the advantages of hiring women as cops is that they tend to have enough street smarts and manners to compensate for their inferior physical strength (a gap that a proper police academy PT regimen will substantially narrow, in any event). This is also a good reason to dispense with height requirements and hire short guys who have street smarts and manners. Including these people in the recruiting pool helps reduce the number of meatheads on the force who provoke fights because they figure that they’re big and strong enough to kick anyone’s ass.

    This is completely backwards. Women often have to use their guns when a big man might be able to intimidate without even raising a hand.

  25. #25 |  John David Galt | 

    The lesson I draw is, don’t just use a camera. Use a camera phone with an app that will upload the pics directly, to somewhere where they can’t be found and deleted by some thug who steals the phone from you in mid-act. There are several such apps available now.

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