04/12/2006

Detroit police to videotape homicide interrogations

The Associated Press

DETROIT- Police will soon videotape their interrogation of homicide suspects, a move prompted by complaints of civil rights abuses and excessive use of force.

Videotaping will keep police honest, minimize challenges to confessions and reduce overtime for officers to appear in court, Police Chief Ella Bully-Cummings said Tuesday.

"As a law enforcement officer, you never want to have an innocent individual incarcerated for something that they didn't commit," she said.

Police have yet to start the taping because they are trying to debug the equipment, Bully-Cummings said. She said the videotaping will begin in six months and later be extended to suspects in rapes, robberies and other violent crimes.

In 2003, the U.S. Justice Department and Detroit settled two lawsuits that accused the city of repeatedly violating the constitutional rights of suspects, prisoners and witnesses.

Illinois, Alaska, Minnesota, New Mexico and Maine have taping laws, and hundreds of police departments elsewhere around the country have adopted the practice.

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