Why Jones Opposes Body Cameras

Sacramento Police Department, again, leads the way on using updated technology and responding to the police brutality concerns raised by the community.  Meanwhile, the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department, under Sheriff Scott Jones, remains in the dark (and on purpose).

Across the country, more and more body-worn cameras (Body Cams), are being worn by law enforcement officials.  The video evidence helps to protect the officers from falsified citizen complaints of misconduct, provides evidence of what was and was not said by all parties, and have also been useful in showing some police officers planting evidence when they thought their cameras had been turned off.

But Sheriff Scott Jones, however, has adamantly opposed equipping his deputies with body cameras.  But Jones is also prohibiting Sacramento City Police officers from turning on their body cameras inside the County jail.

The use of Body Cams by Sacramento Police Department has been met with favorable review by Police Chief Hahn’s office.  According to Deputy Chief Ken Bernard, 4 citizens complaints have been dismissed because the audio and video footage disproved the complaint, with only 1 instance where the officer was found to have intentionally not worn the body camera, an act which violated department policies.

“Up until the (jail’s) doors, we’re using our cameras,” Bernard emphasized. “We have access to [the jail video footage], but it’s not subject to our [public] release policy. … It’s not subject to release like a Sac PD video would be.”

However, there is a much bigger complication, according to Deputy Chief Ken Bernard, that Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones had demanded that city officers not activate their body cams while inside the county jail, where Jones holds jurisdiction.  Jones’ reasoning is that the jail “has its own network of cameras”.

Well, sort of.   But not really.

There are cameras in many areas of the jail, but there are more areas not covered by cameras, such as the inmate transport elevator, cells, and blind corners, where the Sheriff’s cameras don’t cover.  These uncovered areas are also, not surprisingly, where many allegations of deputy misconduct occurred.

Called “elevator justice”, a single inmate would enter the elevator unharmed and then be joined in the elevator by 5 or more deputies who had their name badges removed or covered.  The inmate would exit the elevator in a bloody mess, unable to walk or speak.  Local Sacramento civil rights attorney St

Jail and body-worn cameras failed to cover, but would have been useful, in the proven case of wrongful death of inmate Mark Anthony Scott who suffered from internal injuries for which medical treatment was withheld.  Taxpayers paid $515,000 to the family of Mr. Scott for the wrongful death lawsuit which followed under Scott Jones.

And numerous incidences involving decorated Deputy Paul “Scotte” Pfeifer, seen here by dashcam but without the benefit of body-worn camera’s audio and video.  Deputy Pfeifer was at the center of numerous allegations of abuse and misconduct surrounding his use of a department heavy D-cell flashlight as a baton.

And numerous incidences involving Deputy David McEntire, who has been at the center of numerous allegations of abuse and misconduct regarding excessive force, and for his involvement in the recent shooting death of mentally ill youth Johnathan Rose (Rose’s father held the victim as the deputy shot him, feeling the bullets riddle through the youth’s body).

And the $10.4 million paid to 4 female deputy plaintiffs and attorneys for ongoing patterns of sexual discrimination, racial discrimination, falsified records, forgery of documents, and more.  Case No. 34-2010-00091514, Hagadorn. v. Sacramento Sheriff’s Department

And $160,000 paid to plaintiff Arrellana to settle her rape lawsuit against Scott Jones and the Sheriff’s Department, for a policy of dismissing complaints and failing to address sexual misconduct by deputies.

And $50,000 paid to plaintiff Troyd Ransom for abuses at the hands of two jail staff, both of whom were later fired related to another beating.

And $50,000 paid to plaintiff Blaine A. Jackson for abuses at the hands of jail staff, only part of which was caught on jail cameras.

And $45,000 paid to a local defense attorney over false allegations by jail staff and what the judge called “rash and inappropriate treatment by overly zealous correction officers”, and Scott Jones’ violation of due process.

And $39,000 paid to plaintiff Perry Anderson, Jr., over abuses the inmate suffered by overzealous and abusive jail deputies.

And $31,000 paid to plaintiff Drake Jones, over abuses the inmate suffered by overzealous and abusive jail deputies.

And the list just goes on, and on, and on…

So… you can see why Sheriff Scott Jones opposes body cameras being used in the jail, and for deputies while out on patrol.