New Video Suggests Police Violated Policy by Failing to Activate Body Cameras

The Dallas Morning News obtained the video in a public records request

New video suggests DeSoto police may have violated department policy by failing to activate body cameras during a confrontation with citizens last year.

The video from the Aug. 7, 2018 incident was obtained by NBC 5 media partner The Dallas Morning News through a public records request.

Police were called that day to what had been described in 911 calls as a big fight, with up to 10 people and a sledgehammer involved.

Dashcam video released by DeSoto police last year showed a confusing situation when police arrived at the scene.

DeSoto Police Chief Joseph Costa said last year that officers had done nothing wrong and they were cleared by an internal affairs review.

The new body camera video, synchronized by The Dallas Morning News, shows gaps in the officers' recordings and a lack of video at times as the officers order people to the ground and use a stun gun on one of the people.

Community activist Peter Johnson watched the new video.

"Not having the body cam on is in conflict with the policy of the police department, but they're allowed to get away with that when it comes to people of color," Johnson said. "These people had not committed any crimes, were not under arrest, were not posing a threat to the safety of the officer, but were told you have to lay down face first in the street."

Costa could not be reached for comment Sunday, but a city of DeSoto spokesman said there would be no further comment at this time because people involved have filed a claim against the city.

Sammie Anderson and two of her sons were the people involved. She could not be reached Sunday.

A spokesperson for the Dallas County District Attorney confirmed that Anderson and her attorney met with prosecutors last week and that the district attorney's office has opened a new inquiry into the matter.

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