- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 30, 2014

FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) - Ferguson police said an officer shot in the arm over the weekend was wearing a body camera, but he didn’t have time to press the record button.

Lt. Col. All Eickhoff told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (https://bit.ly/1u8IjOr) the incident exposed a potential flaw of the devices Ferguson officers began using about three weeks ago. No video was recorded of the face-to-face encounter between the officer, whose name hasn’t been released, and the man who Eickhoff said pointed a gun inches from the officer’s chest.

“There’s no time to put the camera on when you’re in a foot pursuit,” Eickhoff said, noting that what happened didn’t violate the department’s policy on using the devices. “He was focused on calling in on his radio.”

Eickhoff said the officer was doing a routine patrol of the new Ferguson Community Center on Saturday night and spotted a man running from the back of the building. The officer lost sight of the man during a foot chase and was ambushed at the crest of a hill.

The man pointed a gun at the officer, who was shot once in the left arm after deflecting the man’s hand, Eickhoff said. He said the officer told investigators he believes he fired three shots back at the man and appeared to have missed.

The suspect ran into the woods but wasn’t found in a search that lasted nearly 1 1/2 hours. St. Louis County police are investigating the shooting.

Ferguson officers began using the donated body cameras earlier this month after protests followed another policeman’s involvement in the fatal shooting of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown. The body cameras are constantly running but only save video after a record button is pushed. The images it stores begin 30 seconds before it’s turned on and continue until it’s turned back off.

“It takes time to do this. Things like using your walkie-talkie are instinctual,” Eickhoff said, while the camera use “is all brand new.”

The department’s policy states officers and detectives are to activate their cameras “to record contacts with the general public.” Eickhoff said the department may rethink its policy and require the cameras be turned on anytime an officer gets out of his or her patrol car.


Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, https://www.stltoday.com

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