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NYPD pulls thousands of body cameras from streets after cop's explodes

The department suspects a battery defect made it ignite.

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The NYPD has pulled some Vievu body cameras from the streets after an LE-5 model (similar to the LE-3 seen here) exploded on Sunday.

Andrew Burton / Getty Images

The New York Police Department removed thousands of officers' body cameras Sunday after one cop's camera exploded.

The Staten Island officer was on duty around midnight Sunday when the Vievu LE-5 camera started to smoke, the department wrote.

The police officer quickly removed the device, which then exploded on the ground. No one was injured, the department said.

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The NYPD statement pointed to the camera's battery as a possible source of the problem, and said that the cause and scope of the defect are being investigated.

"All officers assigned LE-5 cameras were instructed to immediately remove the cameras and bring them back to their commands," the department said in its statement.

There are 2,990 LE-5s in use in 16 precincts, out of a total of 15,500 body cameras deployed with NYPD cops. Those equipped with the LE-4, another Vievu model, will continue to use them, and officers who had the LE-5 won't have any body camera.

Vievu beat then-rival Taser to win the $6.4 million NYPD contract back in 2016, before Taser rebranded as Axon the following year. Axon bought Vievu in May, essentially giving it dominance over the body camera market, Bloomberg noted at the time.

"We are working closely with the NYPD to investigate this issue," Axon said in an emailed statement. "The officer was not injured, however officer safety is of the utmost importance to Axon. We will do whatever is necessary to quickly and safely resolve this situation."

The global market for security equipment in city surveillance like body cameras topped $3 billion last year and could grow at an average annual rate of 14.6 percent from 2016 to 2021, research showed back in March.

First published at 4:12 a.m. PT.
Updated at 8:32 a.m. PT: Adds Axon statement.

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