Police officials in Sacramento, California, have touted their quick release of officers' body camera footage as part of a broader effort to build trust with the public.
But the fatal shooting by police officers last week of an unarmed black man, Stephon Clark, has exposed a potential flaw in that effort: officers' ability to shut off the cameras' microphones.
On body cam footage from the two officers who shot Clark in a residential backyard after dark on March 18, one officer can be heard shouting "gun" — in a mistaken belief that Clark was armed — before the sound of gunfire. Footage also captured the aftermath, as backup arrives and the officers walk to the street, NBC News reported.
But at one point, one officer says, "Hey, mute." Then the audio on both cameras goes silent.