That is by order of a rather ridiculous DC law and the ACLU themselves.
Let’s start with an article from Breitbart.com:
ACLU Warns Police to Turn Body Cams Off During Inauguration Protests but Encourages Activists to Video Cops
by Warner Todd Huston
As the nation prepares for the inauguration of the 45th president of the United States, activists and anarchists flooding Washington D.C. are preparing to do all in their power to destroy the historic day. But even as they encourage anarchists to video police, the ACLU has issued warnings to police to be sure to turn body cameras off during the protests.
Was this accurate? The ACLU says no. From the ACLU.org:
Why Are DC Police Keeping Their Body Cameras Off During Inauguration and the Women’s March?
by Jay Stanley
A lot of social media activity has come to our attention questioning why the DC police have been instructed NOT to turn their body cameras on during the president’s inauguration and the following day’s “Million Women March.” Many people seem puzzled by this.
It’s DC. Not too difficult to suss out the various reasons. Please.
It’s not an ACLU “demand,” it’s actually DC law. True, the ACLU of DC supported and encouraged adoption of that law, but the wider District of Columbia community as represented by its city council agreed with us. And that law is not absolute; in its full form it says that:
First, the ACLU’s convenient “out.”
MPD officers may record First Amendment assemblies for the purpose of documenting violations of law and police actions, as an aid to future coordination and deployment of law enforcement units, and for training purposes; provided, that recording First Amendment assemblies shall not be conducted for the purpose of identifying and recording the presence of individual participants who are not engaged in unlawful conduct.
Right. It’s all DC Metro’s problem.
We supported that law for very good reasons. There is a long history of law enforcement compiling dossiers on peaceful activists exercising their First Amendment rights in public marches and protests, and using cameras to send an intimidating message to such protesters: “we are WATCHING YOU and will REMEMBER your presence at this event.” For a vivid picture of how photography can create chilling effects, recall the civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery Alabama in 1965, when Alabama state troopers viciously attacked and beat peaceful protesters.
That was then. Now, it is demanded by many community groups, agencies, authorities, cities and counties that law enforcement officers wear body cameras.
Note to the ACLU, Leftists, Demorats, liberal law enforcement administrators: you can’t have it both ways. You either have body cameras activated to record the activity of the police or you don’t. You don’t get to summarily pick-and-choose what activities shall be video’d or not, particularly in consideration of the fact that you are clearly biased towards activities where citizens potentially engaging in illegal activities could be hoisted on petards of their own making.
Let’s look at it this way. Historically, the past year, the bulk of the violence involved in the months leading to the presidential election, and beyond to today, has been committed by Leftists. Leftists wish to video what they wish when they wish, and further seek to handcuff law enforcement when it comes to their doing the same thing in public areas.
This is not like a sea of police officers walking into a call of domestic violence or child abuse and taking video of private events in private homes. These are officers, in open public spaces, ostensibly taking video of events occurring in the public. It’s lawful for the protesters to video law enforcement. The reverse should be true as well. And it is.
Therefore it is not unlawful for law enforcement to video their surroundings as, of course, this very act has been demanded of them nationwide. Advocates say it will keep cops honest and document their actions and the actions of those surrounding them.
I agree. Particularly in this instance.
Having been in law enforcement for 41 years, recently retired, I support law enforcement. I am a Sheepdog and always will be. But when cops are not logical or base their conduct upon political correctness I will call them out.
Interim MPDC Chief Peter Newsham, you have been provided a lawful exemption/opening as illustrated above by the ACLU. You are refusing to take advantage of same.
You, sir, should be ashamed of yourself, by placing your very own officers in harm’s way whilst simultaneously robbing them of an important modern law enforcement tool that, truly, groups nationwide insist they possess and could protect them — and your department — on many levels.
You sir, are a quisling.