At a time when police dashboard and body-worn cameras are in the news for capturing footage of alleged police brutality, a department in southwestern Michigan is using footage to catch a skateboarder who took “selfies” on the hood of a police cruiser. The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety said a white male was videotaped Sunday taking pictures of himself in various poses, resulting in several dents to the cruiser’s hood, according to a report by MLive.com.
Authorities want to identify and locate the man so he can be held accountable for damage to the cruiser, which was parked and left alone at the Kalamazoo Mall for about an hour and a half Sunday night, St. Chad Vander Klok told MLive.com.
— Kalamazoo MI (@KalamazooMIrr) August 14, 2015
Dashcams generally run uninterrupted when a police car is in service, Vander Klok said. The camera caught the selfie-taking man kneeling on the hood and lying on the windshield, before he skateboarded away in the Kalamazoo Mall area. Damage to police property is considered a felony in Michigan, said the officer, who did not have an estimate of the damages to the car.
In recent months, dashcams and body-worn cameras in U.S. police departments have captured the arrests or shooting deaths of several black citizens, including Samuel Dubose’s death in Cincinnati, Sandra Bland’s arrest in Waller County, Texas, and Eric Harris in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The incidents have fueled the Black Lives Matter movement, a campaign against racial profiling, police brutality and mass incarceration that has inspired mass protests and a debate about police conduct nationwide.
Kalamazoo had population of 74,260 that was 66 percent white, 22 percent black and 6 percent Latino in 2010, according to the U.S. Census. The community has faced allegations of brutality and tensions between police and residents in recent years. A Kalamazoo officer was caught on dashcam footage punching a handcuffed black teenager in 2009. The officer was suspended for 10 days.