A former Missouri deputy has pleaded guilty to federal charges of using excessive force and obstructing justice during a traffic stop. Donald A. Devens of Smithville admitted that he not only assaulted motorist Wesley A. Lewis in August 2005 (by kicking him in the groin and punching him in the throat when he was handcuffed), but he then tried to destroy the tape on the dashcam. It didn’t work.
Devens, 59, was a Clay County deputy for four years before resigning in October 2005. He now faces up to 30 years in federal prison without parole and a fine of up to $500,000.
Once again, these stories should not only reinforce the need for dashcams in every patrol car (both for the protection of officers and motorists) but also laws requiring all interrogations to be videotaped. The FBI and other police organizations have opposes such a move, though some jurisdictions already use such videotapes. At the moment, the FBI only turns on the videotape when they want to capture a scene and turn it off when they do not want a record.
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