Dallas police will join a growing number of police departments nationwide when they begin videotaping murder suspects’ confessions later this summer, reports the Morning News. The decision comes on the heels of two instances in which videotapes could have determined what occurred in interrogation rooms.
In one instance, a homicide detective called 911 for a murder suspect who suffered minor injuries after the detective said the man attacked him during closed-door questioning. In another incident earlier this year, a woman said she was raped by an officer in an interrogation room. She later recanted the allegation and was subsequently indicted on charges that she lied about the attack. Aside from recording investigators’ conduct behind closed doors, prosecutors and police say videotapes would strengthen slaying cases and trials. Two national studies found that while police departments often are slow to embrace videotaping, virtually all officers who use it quickly support the practice. “The 350 police departments that I’ve talked to love it,” said Tom Sullivan, a Chicago lawyer who published a report last summer for the Illinois governor’s office after 13 death penalty cases were overturned in that state. “The prosecutors love it because they get more lay-down cases, and the judges don’t have to listen to who shot John for two days.”