REPORT: Chicago Police Dashcams Don’t Have Audio Because 80% Were Disabled By The Cops Themselves

DNAinfo Chicago reports:

Why are so many police dashcam videos silent? Chicago Police Department officers stashed microphones in their squad car glove boxes. They pulled out batteries. Microphone antennas got busted or went missing. And sometimes, dashcam systems didn’t have any microphones at all, DNAinfo Chicago has learned.

Police officials last month blamed the absence of audio in 80 percent of dashcam videos on officer error and “intentional destruction.” A DNAinfo Chicago review of more than 1,800 police maintenance logs sheds light on the no-sound syndrome plaguing Police Department videos — including its most notorious dashcam case.

Maintenance records of the squad car used by Jason Van Dyke, who shot and killed Laquan McDonald, and his partner, Joseph Walsh, show monthslong delays for two dashcam repairs, including a long wait to fix “intentional damage.” On June 17, 2014, police technicians reported fixing a dashcam wiring issue in police vehicle No. 6412, the squad shared by Van Dyke and Walsh, about three months after it was reported broken, records show.

A day later, the same vehicle’s dashcam system was reported busted again. It took until Oct. 8, 2014, to complete repairs of what technicians deemed “intentional damage,” according to reports. Just 12 days later, on Oct. 20, 2014, dashcam video recorded from squad car No. 6412 on the night Van Dyke shot and killed McDonald did not record audio. The video that went viral showing Van Dyke killing Laquan was taken from a different squad car, but it, too, had no audio.

The Washington Post is demanding answers:

This isn’t a few bad apples. It’s 80 percent. Why haven’t these officers been prosecuted? Several years ago, a woman named Tiawanda Moore tried to file a report of alleged sexual assault by a Chicago PD officer. When the internal affairs officers with whom she was trying to file the complaint began to intimidate her, Moore began recording the conversation with her cellphone. Under Illinois law at the time, it was a felony to record a police officer without his or her permission.

That law has since been struck down, but Anita Alvarez, the state’s attorney for Cook County who had the power and discretion to decline to prosecute given the circumstances, pushed ahead and attempted to put Moore in prison. Her office did the same with Chicago artist Christopher Drew. Moore was eventually acquitted, in what was almost certainly an act of jury nullification.

So where has Alvarez’s office been here? In December, Alvarez called the lack of audio in the Laquan McDonald video “frustrating” but added that “that’s something I believe the Police Department has to address.” For good measure, she said, “we would prefer to have the audio.”

That’s it? “We would prefer to have the audio”? At minimum, intentionally destroying dash-cam equipment is destruction of public property. You could argue that it’s also tampering with or destroying evidence, particularly if there’s proof that it was done after a shooting or other major incident.

  • Lazycrockett

    It would seem the entire Police force in this country is beyond corrupt.

    • Todd20036

      At least in Chicago

      • DesertSun59

        Please try to keep up.

        • karmanot

          I blocked Todd20036 months ago and sleep better at night.

    • james1200

      The Boston police have really cleaned up their act over the last few years, they even do a lot of community policing now and even the NYPD is being forced to clean up their act. But the Chicago police? Fucking criminals, every single one of them. Chicago is the murder capital of the country because nobody talks to the police there because they know they’re worse than the thugs.

      • AJ

        I don’t disagree that CPD is corrupt (or that the city government is, the state government is, etc), but Chicago is not the murder capital of the US. Even with homicides skyrocketing this year, Chicago isn’t even top 10 when it comes to major cities and their murder rates.

        • james1200

          You’re right, my bad. East St. Louis, IL. & Chester, PA. are nos. 1 & 2! WTF??

          • NancyP

            East St. Louis is a tiny depopulated town with a very high rate of poverty and no significant employers. It is not uncommon for the city to not meet payroll of its uniformed officers.

          • AJ

            You realize St. Louis, the actual city, has 2 to 3 times the homicide rate that Chicago does, right? Detroit, Baltimore, New Orleans, Memphis, etc, all wipe the floor with Chicago’s actual homicide rate. Up until this year, Atlanta had a higher homicide rate than Chicago. Today, even with Chicago’s massive surge in homicides, the two cities have relatively the same rates. The same goes for DC and Philadelphia.

        • Brianna Amoré

          Now isn’t that interesting. Right wingers LOVE to bring up Chicago as their go-to example of out of control gun violence. I wonder why that would be? Hmm…

      • TrollopeReader

        Boston has a good Commissioner. And (for a city roughly the same size as Baltimore) only about 30-50 murders per year. But MA police aren’t trained that we citizens are the “enemy” … plus they’re paid rather well ….

    • TheManicMechanic

      And/or packed with alt-rights and white supremacists

  • TrollopeReader

    Ah, to “protect and serve” …. time to stop the police unions —decertify each and every one. Fire the bad asses immediately, and halt the pensions. And all legal liabilities should come from the union coffers and *not* the taxpayers.

    • Gustav2

      As a first step, the media should stop putting the union rep on TV to copsplain the situation after a death by cop.

      • customartist

        Couldn’t agree more

      • thecdn

        There is a union rep in Miami who is always on the news when something happens. He looks and sounds like a mafia boss and the sight of him justifying every deplorable act by cops makes me sick.

    • bkmn

      I heard the head of the national police union on NPR talking about why they endorsed Trump – it was because Hillary and the DNC didn’t invite them to participate in the DNC convention but they invited families of victims to speak. And he had zero reservations about backing the criminal Trump.

      • Frostbite

        like attracts like. criminals for a criminal!

      • Brianna Amoré

        What a bunch of thin-skinned crybabies.

    • T-Batwoman

      The “good” police are just as culpable as the bad ones, silence lends itself to complicit agreement with those that do wrong. I doubt that there are many good police in big cities. Just my opinion.

      • TrollopeReader

        yet the police encourage neighbors to “snitch” so they can get the bad guys, but if a “good” cop snitches …well, s/he is a nasty no-good untrustworthy rat. Priorities, i guess.

    • Cboulder

      Preaching to the choir. I was thinking the same after the “Let’s turn our backs on DeBlasio” incident In New York when those 2 cops were killed and they blamed BLM for their decision, and bullshit protest,er, tantrum. One of the dumber parts of that protest was that the officers’ actions revealed a profound depth of ignorance regarding who actually pays their salaries. How many other professions have the benefit of the doubt of their unions no matter the bone-headed shit they pull. Lastly, how many competent and capable public servants are languishing on a waiting list of a major metropolitan city police force while tools with seniority tarnish the city’s and the police’s reputation.

      • TrollopeReader

        and the same with teachers … the “bad” ones are stuck in a building with no students, but still get massive salaries because it’s impossible to fire them (in NYC, at least) ,,,,

        • Sporkfighter

          Not in my California district. Failed administrators used to be moved to a seat-warming position in the D.O., but never teachers. With they actually did their jobs, documented poor performance, documented failure to comply with performance improvement plans, and fired people. I was a union rep, and we protect the process, not the teacher.

  • Oh’behr

    Ugh. It’s been said to fear the gang members in Chicago. I imagine actually gangs of Police.

    I lived in Chicago in the early 1980s. I was taught that the police weren’t necessarily your friend. Especially when you’re LGBT.

    • CatApostrophe

      I think back then they were still interrogating people via car battery. They’ve had decades and decades to clean up their reputation after that shit. This seems to be what they’ve done with it.

  • Frostbite

    If I came into my workplace and damaged equipment I’d be escorted out and told never to return. Amazing how these folk can get away with destruction of taxpayer property, murder, and all sorts of corruption, and still keep their jobs.

    • Ginger Snap

      Truth, Boom!

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  • bkmn

    Destruction of city property – sounds like a potential felony to me.

  • Butch

    I guess I was never convinced that the various cams were going to do much good in the first place.
    Howsomever….I do believe that Alvarez was beaten badly in the last election, so at least there’s that.

    • I’m not being snarky, I’m genuinely curious, but what does “Howsomever” mean?

      • madknits

        Mirriam Webster Dictionary
        Howsoever, nevertheless, however.
        Chiefly dialectal.
        http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/howsomever

        • So it’s basically a mispronunciation that Merriam-Webster claims is now a word. Got it.

          • madknits

            Another source said it was archaic. Could have been a local dialect word from long ago. But mispronounciations is often how new words get added to the language.

          • That’s not always a good thing. You can find both “ain’t” and “irregardless” in the dictionary and yet neither one of them are words and should never be deemed such, as just a tiny example.

          • madknits

            Language is never static. Unless it’s dead.
            A friend of mine who is a linguist believes that “ain’t” was a contraction of “am not” You have “aren’t” and “isn’t” but for the first person singular you have I’m not. In some dialects of English ain’t could have been that contraction, but for some reason the received pronunciation disdained it.

            As for irregardless, well, it’s a double negative. English tends to shy away from double negatives.

    • Veylon

      They do good. If nothing else, they illustrate the problem. That the police feel the need to disable them is clear evidence that there’s shady stuff going on. These repair reports are a paper trail. It’s evidence that can be used to change minds and get the real change you want done. Even people who think “there’s only a few bad cops” would want the people tampering with the equipment dealt with.

  • TrollopeReader

    Oh, and “intentional damage” ? At any company I worked at that would be grounds for immediate termination.

  • AndyinChicago

    We have huge issues with trust here in Chicago between the cops and the communities they serve. But to be fair, we also have a more complicated distrust between parts of the city. If you’ve visited, you’ve likely been to the loop or the North side, but you haven’t been to the South side or the far West side. And what’s weird is that money doesn’t visit there either. The mayor keeps investing more and more on the already vibrant neighborhoods and parts of the city get ignored. And then they become dangerous. And the cops there become more defensive and more secretive. And a distrust forms between the cops and the communities they serve.

    In short, the economic disparities between different neighborhoods in Chicago drives this blue vs. black narrative, but really, this is a story of how a Neo-liberal mayor who, following a corrupt mayor, has continued economic violence on parts of his city that deserve better.

    • jimbo65

      The city does deserve better. Especially better mayors than Rahm and the previous Daley administration. I still can’t believe how Daley sold the parking meter rights to another country for 75 years. And blew through the money in no time. I have to wonder if the dashboard cam footage of Laquan McDonald came out before his reelection bid if he would be mayor now. I’m thinking not.

      • AndyinChicago

        Rahm probably wouldn’t have been reelected, but it’s a bit more nuanced than even that. If you look at the voting returns, Rahm did relatively well in African American communities on the South side, but Rahm played up racial conflicts between the Hispanic communities in Chicago and the African American community here, which did a lot of damage to his competitor, Chuy Garcia. But if you look at where Rahm’s support was highest ( https://www.timeout.com/chicago/blog/how-rahm-got-re-elected-in-one-map ), it was the wealthiest parts of the city that really voted for him. It’s urban Whites with money that was Rahm’s base, and that’s who he’s fighting for.

        I’m not saying that all white Chicagoans are the problem, because that would be a vast hyperbole and kinda hypocritical. But we do have to acknowledge that this city has been warped in our favor to the detriment of depressed, minority neighborhoods and has created the current reality where violence is continuing on the South side. It would be easy to just blame the cops, but look at ward 44, the one including Boystown. Over 75% for the status quo. It’s more than just Rahm; it’s our alderman and the way we look at municipal funding in our city. It’s our squabbling within our state legislature while NGO that help go out of business without any aide from the state. We’re allowing this, and then patting ourselves on the back when we condemn the cops. The cops are wrong, but they’re far from alone.

        • NancyP

          The Chicago racism problem is a century old, dating from the northward migration of black sharecroppers when mechanized cotton harvesters took over, and has been abetted by city policies for the entirety of the century.

          • AndyinChicago

            It’s amazing to read Jane Addams’s “Twenty Years At Hull House” and see how this segregation is there as far back as 1889, except then it was keeping those dirty Italians and Eastern Europeans out of the “White” neighborhoods. And then you follow it up with Studs Terkel’s “Division Street” and you see how it festers and simmers in the ’60s. And then you read the news now… You’re right; it’s always been here, but it’s ridiculous how many people refuse to admit it exists.

      • Doubtful. That video was such clear proof of what anybody paying attention already knew, but it also reached a lot of people who never bothered to think about what wasn’t directly affecting them. Both Rahm and Alverez are vile and they seem intent on proving more and more as time progresses.

    • karmanot

      I’ll just drop this here: https://youtu.be/hNxGvBQi–0

    • CatApostrophe

      We have the worst goddamned mayor…Rahm seems hellbent on (further) creating a 2-tiered Chicago.

  • jimbo65

    Interesting how the GOP actively seek to destroy unions. Yet they leave the Police unions alone. It fits nicely with their “blue lives matter” meme. I’m very pro union. But honestly, the police union are corrupt scumbags.

    • Max_1

      Break the Blue Line… Abolish Police Unions.

      It is the unions that protect the bad officers.
      It is the unions that keep the good cops from outing the bad cops.

  • james1200

    Chicago police really take the cake. They are beyond corrupt. They make the New Orleans PD and the NYPD look like angels by comparison. Remember, Chicago was the city where the CPD would disappear suspects, taking them to a a black site, off-grid, where they had no phone call and their lawyers had no access to them, for months on end. And as far as I know, nobody got prosecuted for this. This was actually a storyline featured on The Good Wife but aside from that, the national media didn’t touch the story. The CPD need to be dismantled. In fact, isn’t the Justice Dept. supposed to take over departments like this until they get their shit together?

  • John T

    Obstruction of justice is a crime if you or I do it. But it’s just business as usual for the police.

  • DesertSun59

    See, Republicans pretend this is a Democratic issue. It is NOT. It’s a cultural issue. A police culture issue. It’s nationwide. Plus, natural law states that whatever a Republican is dissing is precisely what they themselves are doing.

    The vast majority of those dissing the black community are Republicans.

    CASE F*CKING CLOSED.

    • Niblet58

      That’s the main reason my daughter decided not to become a cop. She could not handle the us vs. them attitude of her fellow cadets and their TRAINERS (she was in a college program). It starts there, the training department, and it continues until they die. They NEVER let go of that attitude even if they are retired.

      • gaymex1

        That’s really a shame. The only way the attitude will ever change is to have more officers like your daughter.
        I grew up with respect for cops and then my eyes were opened by one bad cop who lied about evidence to make himself look good. A teenager I knew was arresting for breaking into a laundry. He said he didn’t do it and I believed him so I checked out the names and addresses of the witnesses. This is what I found:
        1. A blind witness who was a neighbor of the laundry and obviously saw nothing.
        2. An empty lot.
        3. A witness who had never spoken to anyone and didn’t know about the robbery.
        I spoke up in court and the judge called the cop and the prosecutor and me into his office. In front of the judge the cop told me that the town–Jacksonville, Florida–wasn’t big enough for both of us. He was not fired, but the judge ruled that the kid was innocent, which of course, he was.
        For me it was downhill after that. That said, I have had extended family members who were excellent and honest officers, but my trust in cops was forever extinguished. I still think about the kid. I don’t know what happened to him, but I do know that he didn’t start his work life with a criminal record…like so many who find themselves the victim of cops who want to improve the department statistics.

      • Early this year I was part of a focus group, looking into a law suit, where a state cop had shot the nut off a guy who was trying to calm down someone he had gone to high school with. The former school mate had gotten into an argument before the “good Samaritan” had arrived at the bar, and saw his former school mate pulling a rifle out of his truck. The cop drove up and immediately shot them both. Both men were shot in their adomens and as I mentioned, the one lost a testicle. What was interesting to me was to be shown the recruitment films the Sheriff’s office used to attract people like the Nutcracker. They looked like video war games, with sheriffs in SWAT gear, running in with rifles blazing and the shadows of “suspects” being shot. Very sobering.

    • customartist

      Republicans ALWAYS accuse others of their Own failures

  • Sam_Handwich
    • karmanot

      Coproaches works for me

  • SoCalVet

    The Chicago Police are partially causing all the violence in Chicago by their non-response scheme to slow down their work in response to something they are pissed about. No, I don’t know the whole story, but I know enough to know the Chicago Police are not good people as a department.

  • Blake Jordan

    The cops are like the biggest domestic terrorist organization in the USA, and they are tax-payer funded…

  • NO MORE GOP!

    Gee, that’s not suspicious at all.

  • Max_1

    If it’s not supposed to be an “us vs. them” world…
    … Then why do they tamper with the evidence they insist they need to use against us?

  • Blake Mason
  • Merv99

    Honestly, I would hate having everything I do at work audio recorded. But, in this case, too bad. It’s clearly necessary to root out the bad cops and get some semblance of public trust and confidence in the police. Seeing so many cops intentionally destroy their equipment just reinforces the extent of the problem. Cops who do that should be fired and prosecuted.

    • Tor

      They should pay for the repairs out of their salary.

    • customartist

      The Employer decides if the workplace is recorded, not the employee

      • OSG

        Exactly. The primary reason why the law requires that someone give permission in order to be recorded is so that possible criminal activities can be swept under the carpet or to quash accountability.

    • janey

      and then there is stupidity that should be recorded. I had cops show up at my house when they were looking for a house in the next block. I have numbers big and clear on my house and they did not read them and compare to the number they were to go to.

    • Paul

      How many times have they justified surveillance of civilians with the old ‘if you haven’t got anything to hide…’ statement?

      Well dear cops, if you’ve got nothing to hide then you won’t mind being recorded the whole time you’re supposed to be working. 😉

  • Max_1

    No coincidence…
    … It’s just a stream of unconnected repeated incidences.

    It’s not just in Chicago…

  • Skokieguy [Larry]

    1/4 billion dollars paid out in only four years of police settlements. THIS is why we can’t have nice things.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/chicago-police-settlement-misconduct-210-million_us_5787f6a6e4b03fc3ee500a88

    • TrollopeReader

      tens and tens of $ millions in NYC .. and the cops don’t care, because they aren’t “responsible” and proudly say so.

      • Stev84

        And because they never feel any of the settlements. It’s paid out of the regular city budget (or the city’s insurance), so if anything the only people being affected are their victims.

        • TrollopeReader

          exactly. one NYPD officer (who had several claims paid against his actions) was bragging that he didn’t need to change his attitude as the $$$ didn’t come from him.

    • The_Wretched

      And that’s just for the ones with ‘bad facts’.

  • jsmukg
  • customartist

    THESE are the people who want our respect?

    • lymis

      Respect is a side benefit. What the ones doing this crap want is submission.

  • MBear

    If they turn off or destroy mics, it seems to me they’re admitting they’re criminals

    • CatApostrophe

      Or at the very least, intend to do something criminal or prohibited. Which is freaking scary.

  • SoCalGal20

    Well that’s not suspicious at all. I wonder if the police union is encouraging it.

    OT for those freaked out about 538 and the polls, Obama’s data man, David Plouffe, says to calm down.

    https://twitter.com/theplumlinegs/status/780396755938643968

    https://twitter.com/imillhiser/status/780426129505148928

  • rextrek1

    Ive lost all respect for police…..and Im just a witness to all this as a white man………

  • jsmukg
  • Jean-Marc in Canada

    Well, this confirms our decision to steer clear of the U.S. for leisure travel. Hubsotter and I only go to see his family and when he’s on business. Beyond that, no pleasure trips, it’s just too tense at the moment….sorry, we just don’t trust the cops anymore and this just seals the deal, so to speak.

    • karmanot

      Good thinking, Amerika has become a dystopian violent nightmare.

      • Jean-Marc in Canada

        Not entirely, but there are such large pockets where it truly is a bizarre amalgam of dystopian sci-fy a la Robocop, without the robo part and authoritarian despotism.

    • Bj Lincoln

      Can’t blame you. It does seem as if all big cities are dangerous, anywhere there is a gathering of people is dangerous, being LGBT is dangerous and being anything other than white christian male is dangerous. Damn! Can I go with you?

  • AJ

    I remember being shocked when this story broke in January, but I do wonder what, if anything, has changed since then. Garry McCarthy, the former police superintendent, was fired a month or two before the writing of both articles, and his permanent replacement was not found until April. Eddie Johnson, the current superintendent, was certainly an attempt by city hall to placate the people. He’s a 27 year veteran of the force, and grew up in the Cabrini Green projects. I don’t know if he’s made any substantive changes as of yet though when it comes to stuff like this.

    As for Anita, she lost her primary back in March to Kim Foxx.

  • marshlc

    I really want to believe that the police are basically good, trying to do a difficult job under difficult circumstances and sometimes taking shortcuts.

    But sometimes that’s hard.

    • TrollopeReader

      it’s also hard when you hear that many academies are actually teaching that the citizens are “the enemy” … no more Mr. Friendly Policeman in Blue as I was taught in kindergarten …

  • TuuxKabin

    This. Does not. Help. To them, no lives matter.

  • karmanot

    ‘Intentional damage’ Ah huh…coproaches aren’t fools. If they can get away with murder anything goes.

  • Max_1

    After seeing the evidence as provided by the police; the picture of the gun (unrelated to the body or scene); The holster (not on the body OR the scene but instead, placed on a white surface for photographing); And the blunt (in the hand of an officer no where in relationship to the crime scene or the body); The lack of forthcoming evidence from the police to exonerate their undercover unit that was processing a warrant for someone else… I have come to a conclusion that indeed, Charlotte PD is cover up a crime they committed.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WAfoMBQDIc

    Who protects the people from their police?

    • Max_1

      p.fuckin’ s.
      Did they ever serve that warrant… or were they far too distracted in murdering someone else?

  • AJ

    When satire isn’t so satirical anymore:

    “Rahm Emanuel Concerned Gun Violence Could Spread To Parts Of City He Gives Shit About”
    http://www.theonion.com/article/rahm-emanuel-concerned-gun-violence-could-spread-p-54016?utm_content=Main&utm_campaign=SF&utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=SocialMarketing

    Due to the shooting in front of the Art Institute in downtown Chicago last weekend that left one suburban man dead, expect a strong response from city hall.

  • Bj Lincoln

    Why am I not surprised? The fraternity of police will do and cover up what ever they want and no brother will turn them in. The rest will make life and job so miserable/dangerous that it’s not worth the trouble. While Training and proper evaluations would weed out those who should not be an officer, it should be up to the officers to report the bad ones without repercussions. As for damaging property, they should all be fined and pay for repairs. Double that for a second offence and fired for a third.

  • Brianna Amoré

    Why don’t they just install them in a way that they cannot be tampered with? I mean come on, this isn’t rocket surgery.

  • CatApostrophe

    So…who’s gonna pay to replaces all those damaged dash cams, I wonder?

    Not like the CoC substantially upped our property taxes and sewage/garbage fees this year or anything…

    • Xuuths

      Perhaps the police who are damaging them? Destruction of public property is a crime, which every police officer knows.

  • Ninja0980

    And yet, we’ll supposed to blindly obey and support the police without question whenever shootings arise.
    Fuck that.

  • TuuxKabin

    The ‘count’ increased by two since earlier this morning. That an English news source would run this information on a daily basis says a lot about our MSM.

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/ng-interactive/2015/jun/01/the-counted-police-killings-us-database

  • OSG

    Police services obviously need babysitting by oversight committees that are not dependent on police services for a paycheque.

  • Zuko

    Blue scum earning the hate daily.
    Abolish police unions and require police officers to purchase and maintain their own liability insurance.

  • TheManicMechanic

    Simple solution: Cops will receive their paychecks when these systems are fully operational.

  • Natty Enquirer

    Police and prosecutors don’t get paid to administer justice. They get paid to arrest citizens and put them in prison. It’s up to the courts, juries and the electorate to put the brakes on them.

  • gaymex1

    This definitely sounds like a job for the problem solving high official/officer who Trump supposedly spoke to. You know, the one who said he could solve the Chicago crime problem in a week by letting the cops get tougher. Getting his fellow officers not to fuck up taxpayer equipment should be a snap.

  • williamdecade

    blue criminals!

  • jack

    Sounds like they have more than a few bad cops on the force. I remember when they were one of the highest rated police forces in the country. To bad they have gone so far downhill

  • Honkythecracker

    You would think with all the “gun” violence going on in the country that The police would A. want all the evidence they could find including audio and video evidence to prove they are shooting people that are threats to them or the public , and B. Could find somebody to shoot that was actually armed with a gun

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    It should not be possible to tutn off body cams and dash cams. Any officer whose equipment gets turned off or was “at the wrong angle” should be fired. The data on all these cams should be backed up continuously to am off site location that police can’t get to.

    • James

      Yes, at the office of civilian oversight.

  • JCF

    I did nazi that coming…

  • The officers need to be fined and sent home without pay for increasing periods of time for intentionally destroying police property. After a set amount of punishments they need to be fired.

    • TrollopeReader

      One,

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