An unidentified Los Angeles Police Department officer is currently under investigation after he was allegedly caught on body-camera footage fondling a dead woman’s breast.
It is gathered that the officer who is a veteran has since been removed from active duty pending the outcome of the ongoing investigation.
A department spokeswoman who confirmed the incident to NBC News says an internal investigation into the footage will determine whether the officer violated department policies and if his actions merit termination.
The incident happened when two LAPD officers assigned to downtown Los Angeles’ Central Division responded to a report of a possible dead body inside a home and found a deceased woman.
When one left the room after they determined the woman was dead, the other officer deactivated his body camera. Unknown to him, the camera continued recording. The footage it captured allegedly showed the unnamed officer fondling the dead woman’s breasts when he thought no one was watching.
The body camera was able to capture the footage because the devices have two-minute buffering periods to capture what happens right before they are activated.
Speaking to The Washington Post, LAPD spokesman, Tony Im, said: “There is an official investigation of this officer, who was caught on camera fondling a woman.”
He declined to offer further details, citing rules surrounding personnel issues and “due process.”
LAPD spokesman Josh Rubenstein told BuzzFeed News: “We are going to look at all the evidence. We’re going to review body-worn video. We are going to talk to witnesses.”
A person briefed on the incident who was not authorised to publicly discuss the case told The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity that the footage was found during a random inspection of the officer’s body-camera footage.
LAPD Assistant Chief Robert Arcos told the Times that the body-camera recording was “very disturbing.”
The police union called the accusation a departure from LAPD values, which include reverence for the deceased.
“If this allegation is true, then the behavior exhibited by this officer is not only wrong, but extremely disturbing, and does not align with the values we, as police officers, hold dear,” the Los Angeles Police Protective League said in a statement shared with The Post. “This behavior has no place in law enforcement.”
The LAPD started field-testing body cameras in 2014 and has since deployed more than 7,000 of them.
Last month, the Los Angeles Times reported that the LAPD had reached an agreement with the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union for officers, to randomly review camera recordings even when they do not capture arrests or use of force.