Report: Chicago Cops Hide, Break, Disable Dashcam Microphones

That's why we don't have audio from the shooting of Laquan McDonald
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 28, 2016 4:03 PM CST
Report: Chicago Cops Hide, Break, Disable Dashcam Microphones
The dashcam video showing the shooting death of Laquan McDonald at the hands of Chicago police had no audio. A new report from DNAinfo found officers had been regularly tampering with microphones to make sure that's the case.   (Chicago Police Department via AP, File)

The Chicago Police Department has a dashcam problem. DNAinfo Chicago looked at 1,800 police maintenance logs and found officers were preventing their dashcams from recording audio by stowing microphones in the glove compartment, removing batteries, and breaking antennas. And that's when the microphones were even present in the first place. The issue became very clear during the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald in 2014. According to DNAinfo, neither of the two dashcam videos recorded by squad cars at the scene included audio (three other squad cars didn't even record video). The car belonging to Officer Jason Van Dyke, who has been charged with murder in the case, had been in for months-long repairs twice in 2014, at least once for "intentional damage."

One of the cars that didn't record video during McDonald's shooting hadn't had any problems in at least 124 instances that month until a "power issue" kept it from recording the shooting, DNAinfo reports. A repair request wasn't issued for weeks, and technicians found nothing wrong. Police launched an investigation after one of the soundless McDonald dashcam videos went viral and found 80% of videos had no sound. The department is blaming mistakes and "intentional destruction" by officers. DNAinfo found at least 90 instances of microphones missing from squad cars between Sept. 1, 2014 and July 16, 2015. Since police brass started handing out punishments to officers with nonfunctional dashcams last month, the number of videos uploaded at the end of each shift has increased 70%, a police spokesperson tells DNAinfo. Read the full story here. (More Laquan McDonald stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.