PHOTO: Courtesy Stevante Clark
Now playing
00:55
Sacramento PD muted body cams after shooting
Facebook post by Thrall Police Chief Whitney Whitworth.
PHOTO: Thrall Police/Facebook
Facebook post by Thrall Police Chief Whitney Whitworth.
Now playing
00:55
Police chief stands by hanging reenactment video
A group of women say they were targeted while checking out of their Rialto, California, AirBnB because they are black. Police responded, said the caller was an elderly white woman.
PHOTO: FROM directedbykells/instagram
A group of women say they were targeted while checking out of their Rialto, California, AirBnB because they are black. Police responded, said the caller was an elderly white woman.
Now playing
01:36
Black women swarmed by police at Airbnb rental
PHOTO: otm_lorkodak/Instagram
Now playing
01:21
Former cop indicted in beating caught on tape
Officer Michael Moore was fired after telling a group of African-American men that "you don't belong in my city."
PHOTO: Demarcus Bunch/Facebook
Officer Michael Moore was fired after telling a group of African-American men that "you don't belong in my city."
Now playing
01:25
Cop fired over words to group of black men
joy kimbrough, hambrick family attorney
PHOTO: WTVF
joy kimbrough, hambrick family attorney
Now playing
01:15
Attorney: Officer executed Daniel Hambrick
PHOTO: Barry Fennis
Now playing
01:25
Officer says he 'f----d up' in fatal shooting
20-year-old Eric Torell, who had Down syndrome, was shot dead by police in Stockholm
PHOTO: Expressen TV
20-year-old Eric Torell, who had Down syndrome, was shot dead by police in Stockholm
Now playing
01:03
Man with Down syndrome shot dead by police
Now playing
01:19
LAPD releases video of officers accidentally shooting hostage
title: null duration: 00:00:00 site:  author:  published:  intervention: yes description:
PHOTO: Detroit Police/ Facebook
title: null duration: 00:00:00 site: author: published: intervention: yes description:
Now playing
01:52
Officer suspended after violent video surfaces
Affiliate Embargo: WLS; Chicago, IL  Additional Embargo:   Notes and Restrictions:      Additional Source(s):    Date Shot: 7/14/2018   Shipping/Billing Info:     Description: Elements: LIVE SCENE   Wire/Story Description: CHICAGO -- A man was shot to death Saturday evening by at least one Chicago police officer in the South Shore neighborhood.  It happened about 5:30 p.m. near 71st Street and Chappel Avenue, according to police and Chicago Fire Department officials.  The man was pronounced dead at Jackson Park Hospital, fire officials said.  EMAIL Man fatally shot by Chicago police in South Shore: officials Ad Duration00:00 PAUSE Current time01:25 Seek    00:00 Duration03:00 TOGGLE MUTE Volume  SETTINGSTOGGLE FULLSCREEN EMBED MORE VIDEOS  A fire broke out at about 4 a.m. in the 13500-block of South Baltimore Avenue in Chicago's Hegewisch neighborhood.  Sun-Times Media Wire Updated 9 mins ago CHICAGO -- A man was shot to death Saturday evening by at least one Chicago police officer in the South Shore neighborhood.  It happened about 5:30 p.m. near 71st Street and Chappel Avenue, according to police and Chicago Fire Department officials.  The man was pronounced dead at Jackson Park Hospital, fire officials said.     No officers were hurt, Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tweeted.  Inbound and outbound Metra trains were not operating between Stony Island and South Chicago/93rd St. due to the incident, according to a 7:22 p.m. tweet by Metra.  This is a breaking story. Check back for details.    Station Notes/Scripts: LIVE EVENT; NO SCRIPT TO GET   Projects: None  Cost Center: Atlanta National Desk / 20100101   Created By: lholland  On: 1531616022  --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
PHOTO: WLS;
Affiliate Embargo: WLS; Chicago, IL Additional Embargo: Notes and Restrictions: Additional Source(s): Date Shot: 7/14/2018 Shipping/Billing Info: Description: Elements: LIVE SCENE Wire/Story Description: CHICAGO -- A man was shot to death Saturday evening by at least one Chicago police officer in the South Shore neighborhood. It happened about 5:30 p.m. near 71st Street and Chappel Avenue, according to police and Chicago Fire Department officials. The man was pronounced dead at Jackson Park Hospital, fire officials said. EMAIL Man fatally shot by Chicago police in South Shore: officials Ad Duration00:00 PAUSE Current time01:25 Seek 00:00 Duration03:00 TOGGLE MUTE Volume SETTINGSTOGGLE FULLSCREEN EMBED MORE VIDEOS A fire broke out at about 4 a.m. in the 13500-block of South Baltimore Avenue in Chicago's Hegewisch neighborhood. Sun-Times Media Wire Updated 9 mins ago CHICAGO -- A man was shot to death Saturday evening by at least one Chicago police officer in the South Shore neighborhood. It happened about 5:30 p.m. near 71st Street and Chappel Avenue, according to police and Chicago Fire Department officials. The man was pronounced dead at Jackson Park Hospital, fire officials said. No officers were hurt, Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tweeted. Inbound and outbound Metra trains were not operating between Stony Island and South Chicago/93rd St. due to the incident, according to a 7:22 p.m. tweet by Metra. This is a breaking story. Check back for details. Station Notes/Scripts: LIVE EVENT; NO SCRIPT TO GET Projects: None Cost Center: Atlanta National Desk / 20100101 Created By: lholland On: 1531616022 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Now playing
01:20
Police: Officers believed man had weapon
An image taken from a Facebook video shows two officers restraining a 10-year-old boy.
PHOTO: From Facebook
An image taken from a Facebook video shows two officers restraining a 10-year-old boy.
Now playing
01:02
Video shows officers restrain young boy
PHOTO: AJ -king Stoner/Facebook
Now playing
01:21
Officer points gun at a group of children
Mesa Police Department new video bodycam hln_00003503.jpg
PHOTO: Mesa Police Department
Mesa Police Department new video bodycam hln_00003503.jpg
Now playing
03:06
Video of teen's arrest prompts 2nd Mesa PD investigation
PHOTO: Mesa Police Department
Now playing
02:00
Video of police beating leads to investigation
Video shows police hit suspect with cruiser
PHOTO: Athens-Clarke County Police Department
Video shows police hit suspect with cruiser
Now playing
00:49
New video shows police hitting suspect with car
(CNN) —  

About seven minutes after Sacramento police fatally shot an unarmed black man in his grandmother’s backyard last week, officers were instructed to mute their body cameras.

Stephon Clark, 22, was in the backyard March 18 when two police officers shot at him 20 times. Police said they thought he was holding a gun. But investigators say they did not find a weapon at the scene, only a cellphone near the man’s body.

The Sacramento Police Department on Wednesday released two body camera videos, the 911 call, the helicopter footage and radio traffic from the shooting.

In both videos, an officer can be heard saying, “Hey, mute.” Directly after, the video goes silent and officers talk among themselves.

Stephon Clark
PHOTO: Courtesy Stevante Clark
Stephon Clark

’It builds suspicion’

The shooting has sparked nationwide outrage, with the muting of the body cameras raising questions about the officers’ actions. CNN has called and emailed the police department, but has not heard back.

Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn told CNN affiliate KCRA that the action has added to the tension after the shooting.

“Muting is one of those things that we have to take a look at,” Hahn said. “Any time there is muting on this camera, it builds suspicion – as it has in this case. And that is not healthy for us in our relationship with our community.”

02:16 - Source: CNN
What you should know about police body-worn cameras

Although the Sacramento Police Department’s 2016 body camera policy designates when to activate body cameras, it does not specifically mention when to activate or deactivate sound or audio recordings. Sacramento police, Hahn said, implemented body cameras last year.

When can officers deactivate body cameras?

The department policy includes 16 instances when a body camera is required to be activated, including vehicle stops and sobriety tests as well as foot and vehicle pursuits.

It says employees can deactivate their cameras in some instances, but that’s based on their discretion. These instances may occur when officers are having tactical or confidential conversations, when officers are trying to conserve battery life or if a witness or victim refuses to give a statement on camera, according to the policy.

Some situations are also based on the officer’s judgment, like if a recording would interfere with the officer’s ability to investigate or if recording would be inappropriate based on the victim or witness’ physical condition and emotional state.

However, it’s unclear whether deactivating a body camera or muting are different things.

“I think it’s a policy we should look at very carefully and perhaps change entirely,” Mayor Darrell Steinberg said during a news conference Friday.

Expert: Muting can be justified at times

Peter Bibring, director of police practices with ACLU Southern California, said he’s never heard of a department where an officer muted video.

“Just because an officer thinks this shouldn’t be released,” that’s not a discussion officers should be having, he said. “Officers should not be having personal conversations during the course of an investigation. And that’s certainly not what was going on here.”

Seth W. Stoughton, assistant professor of law at the University of South Carolina School of Law, has done research, presentations and led training on body cameras for the past two years. He said he’d be surprised if muting cameras was illegal, but said he understands why officers would mute their video.

“They were in a situation where they didn’t want a word to be scrutinized,” he said.

The inclination among officers, Stoughton said, is not to record footage of an officer unwinding moments after a shooting because officers may not phrase things in the right way.

However, he said, muting hurts public trust and diminishes police accountability.

“I think that muting the microphone is wrong,” Stoughton said. “By not capturing that information, they may be undermining the investigation.”

A different perspective

When officers mute body cameras, Stoughton said, the public looks at it from a different perspective.

“From a public trust perspective, it may have been better to not have a body camera at all than to have it and turn it off halfway through,” he said.

Body cameras provide information that the public wouldn’t otherwise have, but “it’s not perfect information,” Stoughton said.

There is no statewide body camera policy in California, so body camera policies differ from agency to agency, said Jeff Noble, a police practice consultant and a former deputy police chief in Irvine, California.

“The cameras served the goal that we put body cameras out for, they were on and activated during the chase and during the shooting,” Noble said.

CNN’s Chris Boyette contributed to the content of this report.