Second agency investigating SPD's dash-cam video system

Second agency investigating SPD's dash-cam video system »Play Video
SEATTLE -- A second city agency is now investigating alleged problems with the Seattle Police Department's dash-cam video system.

This follows a KOMO 4 Problem Solver investigation and lawsuit against the city because of failure to turn over those videos and the video database.

Last week, we learned it was the city auditor, now the Problem Solvers have learned that SPD's Office of Professional Accountability is also looking into allegations that Seattle police may be misusing dash-cam video.

When Seattle Police came to Turner Helton's antique store following a report that he was suicidal, none of the five responding officers turned on their dashboard cameras. Helton and his attorney want to know why.

"The cover-up aspect of this is that the police officers had training, they should have recorded this encounter with Mr. Helton," said attorney Patrick Preston. "They turned off the recorder."

Helton claims police injured him that afternoon, and dashboard video cameras could have captured evidence of the incident.

"And my hands, you can see the knots on my hands from them trying to break my hands and I don't have control over my hands anymore," Helton said.

A recent report notes ongoing allegations of inconsistent use by officers of the dash cam system, so OPA is now auditing the video system. And just last week we reported Councilman Nick Licata asked the city auditor to also investigate.

"And I kept asking myself, what happened to these videos?" Licata said. "We had videos in almost all patrol cars, why aren't they being turned on and if they are being turned on what happens to them?"

So now two city agencies, the OPA and the city auditor's office, are both investigating SPD's handling of its dash cam video system.

Seattle police has not returned our request for a comment on OPA's actions.