For Official Press Release, America First Media issues Statement in Seth Rich Investigation
August 6, 2017
America First Media Press Release
RE: Seth Rich — MPD Body Camera Program
August 6th, 2017
BODY-WORN CAMERA PROGRAM (GO-SPT-302.13)
America First Media is officially requesting a proper and formal statement, with follow up, to address concerns related to the body camera equipment used by the Washington Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) on the morning of July 10, 2016, at the homicide scene of Seth Conrad Rich in the Bloomingdale area of Washington, DC.
During the course of our investigation into said homicide, we have discovered seemingly numerous violations in the handling and processing of the body cam footage recorded by the attending officers, their superiors, and in particular, Metropolitan Police Department Privacy Officer Liz Lyons as per The General Order document, BODY-WORN CAMERA PROGRAM (GO-SPT-302.13) dated March 11th, 2016.
Specifically, but not limited to, we cite the following clause numbers as being of utmost concern:
Section IV — REGULATIONS
M. (pg 4) Members shall not:
2. Destroy, disseminate, edit, alter, modify, tamper with, or otherwise use BWC recordings without the written permission of the Chief of Police. Members who tamper with BWC recordings may be subject to criminal investigation and prosecution.
4. Delete any BWC recordings except as specified in Part V.C of this order (i.e., accidental recordings).
Section V — PROCEDURES
H. (pg 23) Retention
1. Members shall ensure that BWC recordings are retained and
accessible on the BWC database for a period of 90 calendar days
unless they are categorized as follows:
It is our understanding, the rejection of FOIA applications for the release of the body camera footage filed by numerous groups and individuals has been due to the claim of there being an ongoing investigation into the homicide of Seth Rich, thus, allowing for exemption from release.
According to the General Order set out for the MPD, we assert Ms. Lyons either spoke incorrectly in her public statements in regard to the amount of time body cam footage is kept, or a serious, and potentially criminal, break down of procedures occurred.
Ms. Lyons had stated 90 days as the standard for video evidence considered unnecessary.
As evidenced in the above clause, 90 days is a far cry from the minimum 65 years for what has been described as an open and on going investigation by the MPD.
Our position, based on public comments made by both Mayor Bowser and Liz Lyons describing blatant and serious violations cited previously, is to request remedy in the form of exercising the following clause contained in the same General Order document (BODY-WORN CAMERA PROGRAM (GO-SPT-302.13-pg 17)):
3. Member BWC Categories
D. Access and Review
(2) “Murder / Manslaughter”
6. The United States Attorney’s Office (USAO), the Office of Police Complaints (OPC), and the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) staff have their own accounts to the storage database; therefore, MPD members shall not share or download BWC recordings for these organizations.
America First Media makes its public request for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to exercise his right to access the MPD body camera program’s database to obtains the camera footage from the morning of July 10, 2016, in relation to the homicide of Seth Rich, conduct a proper inquiry into the possible criminal mishandling of said camera footage, review the previously rejected FOIA claims to reassess their merit, and finally, assess claims by MPD of their ongoing investigation to determine what, if any, progress has occurred.
We request clarification from a MPD spokesperson, or failing that, the Attorney General of the United States, as to the detriment, if any, releasing body camera footage, along with any and all other previously FOIA requested documentation, would possibly have on an investigation we are told has had no suspects and no leads during the last official statement from MPD, which, curiously, was over one year ago.
The contradictions displayed by those in authority at MPD describe both, a cold case with no apparent manpower devoted, unwilling to cooperate or assist with any private investigations or citizen’s right to access information through FOIA, while at the same time, allowing for the destruction, intentional or otherwise, of evidence which could very well be critical to the solving of this homicide.
America First Media remains committed to solving the murder of Seth Rich using all means available. We will doggedly pursue access to information, rightfully belonging to the American people, when we feel this information is not only pertinent but critical to any investigation we undertake.
America First Media
***End of Official Release****
General Order — BODY-WORN CAMERA PROGRAM (GO-SPT-302.13)
Seth Rich Body Cam Footage by FLYNNL1VE5
DC police chief: Police body camera videos can’t be redacted easily
D.C. Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie led a public safety hearing on police body cameras on Thursday. D.C. Police Chief…www.fox5dc.com
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