Why body cams will add clarity in East Grand Forks Police Department

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EAST GRAND FORKS, Minn. (Valley News Live) It's a, "he said, he said," case in East Grand Forks involving the alleged assault of a cop.

A Whistleblower asked Valley News Live to look into his case.

Malik Olsen is charged with a felony assault.

"When we stopped right here that's when we noticed the cop car pulled up behind us," Olsen said.

Olsen is familiar with East Grand Forks Police Department.

"I have a negative history with them. I've had a lot of mental health issues, so like, they've dealt with me in all sorts of manners, but it's never gotten physical," Olsen said.

It's never been physical until the early morning hours of July 10th, 2017.

"At this point when I was standing on the car, and he charged at me I was, like, really afraid I was going to get shot," Olsen said. "Given the circumstances of what's going on, like, that was my first instinct, was like, I need to defend myself."

Olsen was the passenger during a traffic stop. Cops said they smelled weed and found some in the car giving the driver a citation.

It's less clear what happens after Olsen and the officer tumble out of the dash cam view.

According to court documents, Olsen was verbally abusive yelling, "I hate cops," and it was after he took a step toward officers in aggressive manner and refused commands that police took him to the ground. Then it said Olsen began swinging his hands, fighting with the officer causing scrapes to the officers arm.

Soon, there will be another vantage point.

"Body cam, wherever the officer goes, essentially wherever they're turning their body, that camera is going to be focused on," East Grand Forks Police Chief Mike Hedlund said.

East Grand Forks Police said they were using body cameras around 6 years ago, but then law makers required each department to create detailed policy about when and how to use them. When the department realized they weren't in compliance with the law the cameras went on the shelf.

Until now.

"I really do think it's going to help us in a number of different ways," Hedlund said.

The department has recently outlined their body cam policy, had its required public comment period and this week received the new body camera equipment.

Hedlund said there were no body cams used during Olsen's incident and wouldn't comment further as his case is still moving through the judicial process.

Olsen said he too wishes there were body cams so he could see exactly what happened that night.

Police said they believe the body cams will be operational in a couple of weeks.