Shootings caught on cell phones game changer for police investigations

Shootings caught on cell phones game changer for police investigations

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Technology that allows police shootings to be filmed on cell phones has become a game changer for investigators, according to one Lowcountry police official.

Hanahan Police Lt. Michael Fowler says cell phone video has changed the way how some people look at how officers are doing their jobs, whether cops are following the law or breaking it.

"Certainly police officers are aware that anytime they make citizen contact there's a very high likelihood of somebody videotaping the encounter," Fowler said.

Fowler says cellphone video also helps police departments investigate what he calls high energy bad incidents like the fatal shootings that happened in Minnesota and Louisiana this week.

"The videotape gives the investigators something to go back and look at. Whereas before they just had to kind of reconstruct it based on what the officer told them, what the victim told them, what witnesses told them."

Charles Tyler with the National Action believes cellphone video has become a game changer that allows the public to keep an eye on cops.

"If not for the video we would not see what is happening. I make sure my battery is charged every morning, every afternoon. I want a battery where I see something going on I automatically pull it out."

Fowler says cell phone video also can help with internal investigations.

He says if the video shows an officer did something that was inappropriate, action will be taken.

Copyright 2016 WCSC. All rights reserved.