All DC Police Officers have recently been outfitted with body cameras, but they will be in serious trouble if they have them on during the Inauguration Day protests.
NBC News 4’s Mark Segraves reported that it’s “against the law” for body cameras to be on while police are at protests unless the officer is required to take action. This means that officers can turn the cameras on when they want to arrest somebody, but they will be unable to capture what led up to the arrest.
America has a lot of recent experience with Black Lives Matter protests devolving into riots. Oftentimes, the only lead to determining the identities of criminal rioters is camera footage. In the 2015 Baltimore riots, Donta Betts was captured on camera squirting lighter fluid on propane tanks. At the Portland election riots November 2016, Mateen Shaheed was captured on camera causing $50,000 worth of damage. During the 2016 Charlotte riots, police were able to use footage to identify the killer who gunned down Justin Carr.
Furthermore, it’s fairly standard practice for police to have designated cameramen at protests so the department can not only show evidence of criminal activity, but the department can defend itself from false claims.