Chicago Police Have Been Sabotaging Their Own Dashboard Cameras on Purpose

Just when you thought the scandal-ridden Chicago Police Department was ready to collapse under the weight of its own idiocy, it goes and does something like this. According to DNA Info, 80% of dashboard cameras in CPD patrol vehicles don't record audio — either because officers are activating them incorrectly, or because they're intentionally damaging or concealing them.

This troubling revelation sheds light on what happened the night of Oct. 20, 2014, when Officer Jason Van Dyke — who was recently released on bond after being charged with first-degree murder — shot and killed a 17-year-old, unarmed black boy named Laquan McDonald. The incident was recorded by multiple police dash cameras, but many of them did not record audio, including Van Dyke's.

Chicago Police Have Been Sabotaging Their Own Dashboard Cameras on Purpose
Officer Jason Van Dyke

In Van Dyke's case, the reason for this is now clear: He'd intentionally made his camera not work. The 15-year veteran took the camera from his patrol car to the department's maintenance team in June 2014, three months after reporting it broken, and repairs were completed June 17. The next day, the camera was suddenly broken again. Then, on Oct. 8 — 12 days before Van Dyke killed McDonald — the maintenance team fixed it for a second time, citing "intentional damage" as the reason for its malfunction.


The night of Oct. 20, the same camera wasn't recording any audio. Investigators concluded this was because the microphone had not been synced.

The camera's repeated breakdowns and mysterious failure to record sound appear to be part of a larger pattern in Chicago. Technicians have identified 90 cases between September 2014 and July 2015 where CPD officers had actually hidden their dashcam mics in the glove compartment of their cars, while in 30 other instances, there was evidence that recording devices were "intentionally defeated" or not activated by police personnel, DNA Info reported.