I recently won a motion that will almost certainly result in the entire case being dismissed, where six officers were present in court to testify against my client on our defense motion to suppress (prevent the use of at trial) illegally seized evidence. The case began with an anonymous tip to 911. All of the officers reports said or implied that a drug deal took place involving my client, whom they stops, dragged out of his vehicle, and handcuffed him on the ground. Then they called a judge for a search warrant based on questionable statements to the judge, including inaccurate specifics of K-9 sniff 'searches' of two suspect vehicles. The police then arrested my client and took him to jail, and impounded his vehicle and searched it thoroughly, allegedly finding a tiny amount of drug residue, and my client was then charged with felony drug possession.
But, determinative to this case, the law enforcement stop of my client and the seizure of his vehicle was an unconstitutional Terry stop or investigative detention, which violated the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution and article 1, Section 7 of the Washington State Constitution. An anonymous tip must be corroborated for reliability, which wasn't done here by the police, or else the cops must observe corroborating criminal activity, not just innocuous (legal) actions such as people talking to one another in or outside their vehicles in a public parking lot, which is all that occurred here. On the stand, during my cross-examination of these officers, none of them were willing and able to say they actually saw any crime being committed before they arrested him! It's stunning that in this day and age none of the officers involved, from 3 different agencies, had body or dash cams to record the stop. Several of them told my private investigator that they only wear body cams for bigger cases (!!!) and some said the county where this occurred didn't have the money to supply them with body-cams.
Without the ability to show that they had seen any illegal activity, all the evidence they obtained by subsequent searching became what is called 'Fruit of the poisonous tree' and unusable at trial.
Ars Technica now reports that the famous TASER company is changing it's name to Axon, and giving away free body cams to police agencies, along with a year of Cloud storage service. Obviously they plan to make money long term by selling subscriptions to the service, like every tech company does nowadays. They plan to make it cost effective and easy for every officer to record interactions and events, so there will be more evidence against alleged criminals, and less claims of police misconduct.
So, next time you see a cop, smile! You're probably on camera!