You might remember this wild video caught on a police dashboard camera last December. What should have been a routine traffic stop had a New Mexico police officer firing his gun at a minivan with five kids inside. The officer in that video said he was unaware of who was in the car and only started shooting at the van after its driver sped away.
But that’s not how the driver sees it. Oriana Ferrell, along with her five kids, sat down with ABC to explain her side of things.
“I'm feeling complete and utter fear. ... He had given me my license back. I think it’s over, let’s go. So I start pulling out slowly. Like we do from any traffic stop.”
The dashboard camera video was key to how things played out next. That police officer was later fired following an investigation over use of excessive force and Ferrell was charged with, among other things, aggravated fleeing of a law enforcement officer.
At the time, the story not only made national headlines for the alarming video, but it also put the spotlight on police use of dash cams.
Supporters say they're an objective tool for documenting police interactions. (Video via YouTube / rawdashcam)
A 2005 report from the International Association of Chiefs of Police found cameras enhance officer safety, improve accountability and reduce liability.
And they’re growing in popularity. The latest numbers from the Department of Justice show that by 2007, 66 percent of local police departments were using dashboard cameras — a number up from 55 percent in 2003.
But dash cams do have their drawbacks. Their field of view is limited, and it doesn’t take much for an officer to turn off his or hers off — an accusation that made its way into the recent case of two Seattle men arrested at gunpoint. Crucial moments that should have been recorded were missing from the video. (Video via Taser International)
More recently, the shooting death of Michael Brown has again shifted public attention to dashboard cameras. The officer who shot the unarmed teen did not have one installed in his car.
The case involving Ferrell and the New Mexico police officer is ongoing. To hear more about where the it stands now, head over to ABC.com for Ferrell's entire interview.