The New York Police Department is removing nearly 3,000 body cameras from use after one of the devices worn by a Staten Island police officer exploded into flames. According to a report in The New York Times, the recall of the Vievu LE-5 cameras could delay the NYPD’s plan to outfit all 23,000 patrol officers in its department with body cameras by December.
Potential Defects Being Investigated
The use of police body cameras has surged in recent years after a national debate over police interactions with civilians and fatal shootings by officers of mostly men of color. Law enforcement agencies across the country have equipped officers with body cameras as they conduct investigations and interact with the public. Vievu introduced the LE-5 in October 2017, listing among its features a lithium-ion battery that boasts more than 12 hours of recording time.
NYPD officials say they are investigating the scope and cause of the defect, which caused the device to explode and catch fire. The Staten Island police officer was wearing the body camera during a midnight shift when he noticed smoke emanating from the device. He was not injured when the body camera exploded. Officers who had been assigned these cameras were told to remove the devices and hand them in right away. Other camera models including the LE-4 are not affected by the order. The demand for these body cameras has burgeoned into a multibillion-dollar market.
Lithium Batteries and Explosions
Our law firm is very familiar with a number of cases involving defective lithium-ion batteries. News reports involving lithium battery explosions in cell phones, e-cigarettes, laptops and other devices have been plentiful over the last couple of years. These types of explosions cause severe injuries ranging from burn injuries and fractures to vision loss and facial injuries.
In this case, it is extremely fortunate that the officer did not suffer any major injuries. However, one of the clients that our product defect lawyers are representing has not been so lucky. This was a man who was shopping for a television at an Anaheim electronics store when the e-cigarette device in his pant pocket exploded and caught fire leaving him with severe burn injuries.
Lithium batteries can be dangerous or even deadly when they are poorly manufactured or made with substandard parts. Manufacturers of these products can and should be held responsible for the injuries and damages caused because of their urge to put profits over the safety of consumers.