According to Live Leak:
“Officer Lou Golson pulled over Christopher Cook at around 2:30 AM Saturday morning (Jan 3 2015) for suspected drunk driving. Officer Golson, an Ex-Marine (sic), walked up to the vehicle and Christopher Cook opened his door and started firing. The officer shot back, but missed. The Suspect then fled as Officer Golson calmly radio'd for help despite his broken femur from a gunshot wound.”
All told, 13 shots were fired, eight of them by Officer Golson after having been shot himself.
This video is a near perfect illustration of the rising importance of police body cameras. There has been debate on both sides of the issue since the implementation of body cameras has become more standard among police forces.
On one side of the debate are some police officers who feel as though body cameras are an indication of a lack of trust. On the other side are civilians, whose complaint is similar: they don't want Big Brother watching, and possibly using the video for future purposes unrelated to its original intent. But others argue that both complaints are made irrelevant when weighed against the benefits of the cameras.
According to The New York Times, in an article from April, 2013:
“William A. Farrar, the police chief in Rialto, Calif., has been investigating whether officers’ use of video cameras can bring measurable benefits to relations between the police and civilians...in collaboration with Barak Ariel, a visiting fellow at the Institute of Criminology at the University of Cambridge.”
The cameras were assigned to random officers—comprising approximately half of the force—each week, and the results were what you'd expect:
“The results from the first 12 months are striking. Even with only half of the 54 uniformed patrol officers wearing cameras at any given time, the department over all had an 88 percent decline in the number of complaints filed against officers, compared with the 12 months before the study...Rialto’s police officers also used force nearly 60 percent less often — in 25 instances, compared with 61. When force was used, it was twice as likely to have been applied by the officers who weren’t wearing cameras during that shift, the study found.”
What we learn from this experiment is precisely what you'd expect knowing human nature. When cameras are used, and visible to potential offenders, not only do offenders file fewer complaints, but officers use force less often.
Civilians can't complain about something that didn't happen, and when footage is being recorded, even officers who wouldn't behave negligently without a camera are forced to take stock, and better police their own conduct.
People lie. Cameras don't.
Editor's Note (1/12/15, 10:05am EST): In the first paragraph, there is a quote from a source stating that the officer was an “Ex-Marine.” We acknowledge that this is in error. There are former Marines, not 'Ex-Marines.' However, it is not our error, but Live Leak's, for publishing the incorrect term.