The Philadelphia Police Department doesn’t film its interrogations, but some legal and civil rights experts say that’s a mistake.
“There is absolutely no reason with our technology why we we are not videotaping every confession,” said civil rights attorney David Rudovsky on WHYY’s Radio Times last month. The thought here is it’d curb coerced, confused or ill-be-gotten confessions by allowing defense attorneys to later see how their clients offered up culpability.
It’s common practice in several big cities, including New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, D.C., the Philadelphia Daily News recently reported. So what’s stopping Philadelphia?
Philadelphia police spokesman Lt. John Stanford said Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey supports recording interrogations, just as he did as chief of police in Washington, D.C. The department is in the “infancy stages” of working with the city and others on a new policy for recording interrogations that will spell out how suspects and witnesses are to be treated, Stanford said.
But logistics, money and a state law that requires that permission be obtained from those being recorded are hampering the department’s goal, he said.
“It’s not as easy as throwing a camera in a room. There are a lot of logistics that have to be worked out,” Stanford said.