MPD policy allows officers to have body cameras off in certain instances

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — MPD policy requires officers to have their cameras on and recording during all law-enforcement encounters and activities, and they need to record until it's over.

Police said the officer who shot Martavious Banks, 25, had his camera on when he pulled him over, but turned it off before he shot him after a chase.

Two other officers involved in the traffic stop also deactivated their body cameras or car cameras during the pursuit, according to MPD.

There were officers with body-cameras on during the shooting, but it's not clear what they captured.

The policy says the only times video shouldn't be recording during calls for service is when a victim is naked or has sensitive areas exposed, when known confidential informants are there or when undercover officers are there.

We found the user manual for the body cameras MPD uses. The cameras have two modes: Buffering and Event.

Buffering means it's recording, but only in 30-second durations and it's not kept permanently. Event means it's recording audio and video.

To turn off the system entirely, the on/off switch has to be moved. It's an effort it seems the officer made before firing those shots.

We asked Memphis police what they're doing to make sure officers don't turn cameras off in the future. We have not yet heard back.

The community demanded police wear body cameras after Darrius Stewart was shot and killed by an officer three years ago. Now, even though we have them, police say an officer's camera was off when he shot a 25-year-old in South Memphis.

"Clean house! Clean house! We need them to get out of here," activists chanted on Monday.

It's what activists are calling for after three police officers had either their car cameras or body cameras turned off during an officer-involved shooting.

"We asked for the body cameras three years ago. We received them and we have police officers at their own will turning them off," Pastor Steven Bradley said.

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