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Body camera should have recorded when officer shot, killed man at Oceanfront automatically, but police say there's no video

Virginia Beach Police Department policy and videos say nearby body cameras should activate automatically when an officer takes a gun out of its holster.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Virginia Beach Police Chief Paul Neudigate says the department does not have body camera video showing when an officer shot and killed Donovon Lynch at the Oceanfront on March 26 after the initial shootings.

Even if the officer didn't activate his or her body camera -- as is required by department policy -- the camera should've turned on automatically when the officer removed their gun from its holster.

Virginia Beach police officers are required to activate their body cameras and "record an entire encounter when they are conducting official business," according to VBPD documents. 

“The officer was wearing a body cam, but for unknown reasons at this point and time, it was not activated," Chief Neudigate said in a weekend press conference.

The VBPD body camera policy and a Virginia Beach TV video introducing the body camera program explain the camera should've recorded the shooting automatically, too.

“There are two instances where it will activate automatically," said Captain Todd Jones in the program video. "One is with a signal device attached to the holster. When a gun comes out of the holster, it sends a signal, and every camera within 30 feet will activate.”

Based on this policy, if other officers were nearby when an officer shot and killed Lynch, their body cameras should’ve recorded the shooting as well.

In addition, when a VBPD body camera is activated, it backs up 30 seconds of video to show what happened before that moment.

Virginia Beach body camera program documents say this automatic activation ensures officers aren’t at risk by worrying about turning on a camera during a shooting.

A lack of video breaks department policy.

“If it’s a police-related event, it will be recorded, provided the officer is wearing a camera," Jones said in the video.

Police officers are required to make sure their body cameras are working before they start each shift.

Body cameras are also designed to activate automatically when an officer uses a taser or stun gun. 

Virginia Beach Police have not yet responded to additional questions from 13News Now Investigates about why there isn't a recorded video of the shooting.

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