Battery died on body camera before police-involved shooting at Colonial Plaza, chief says

Motorola replacing all 435 body-worn cameras with upgraded systems

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Orlando Police Department’s 435 body-worn cameras will be replaced because the batteries only last four to seven hours, while the field officers work 12-hour shifts, according to Orlando Police Chief John Mina.

The announcement comes just two weeks after the police-involved shooting at Colonial Plaza, in which Master Police Officer Anthony Wongshue’s bodycam battery died, leaving the department with only the cellphone video from a shopper.

“His (Wongshue’s) bodycam was functioning properly,” Mina told News 6. “He was almost all the way through his shift. His battery died."

News 6 has learned Mina knew the batteries had limited capacity and had ordered additional batteries to cover officer shifts.

[WATCH: Exclusive video shows Orlando police open fire in fatal shooting at plaza]

“That’s an issue we had recognized long ago with the vendor,” Mina said. “Motorola agreed to replace them at no charge to the department.”

A Motorola representative spoke to Police Department officials Wednesday night and promised all 435 upgraded cameras and batteries would be delivered by early June.

An OPD spokesperson said the new batteries have anine- to 10-hour capacity.

The current body-worn camera, the Motorola Si-500, will be replaced with the newer Si500 1.5.

[READ: Was fatal Orlando police shooting justified? Former sheriff says yes]

A source with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said the agency was aware of the battery issue, but didn’t expect the lack of video to affect the investigation.

Police said officer Wongshue shot and killed the getaway driver in an alleged shoplifting.
The victim was identified as 32-year-old Juan Alberto Silva.

Wongshue and Officer Juan Abreu surrounded the gold van, trying to talk the driver out of the van.

When the driver hit the gas, Wongshue opened fire, officials said. FDLE is investigating.

About the Author:

News 6’s Emmy Award-winning Investigative Reporter Mike Holfeld has made Central Florida history with major investigations that have led to new policies, legislative proposals and even -- state and national laws. If you have an issue or story idea, call Mike's office at 407-521-1322.