Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called for body cameras for all police in a speech about law enforcement reform at Columbia University earlier this morning.
She cited the rash of police violence toward black men, including Walter Scott, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, and Eric Harris as an impetus for change.
“We should make sure that every police department in the country has body cameras to record interaction between officers on patrol and suspects,” Clinton said. “That will improve transparency and accountability, and help protect good people on both sides of the lens.”
A growing number of police departments across the US are already testing or using body cameras, including the Los Angeles Police Department. The family of Mike Brown, the unarmed teenager killed by police in Ferguson, Mo., has been vocal about outfitting police with body cameras.
Advocates say that recording police actions can curb abuse and ensure evidence if it occurs. However, body cameras are not a cure-all, as my colleague Mario Aguilar pointed out. For evidence of abuse to come into play, footage needs to be admissible in court, but this has not always been the case historically. And footage is no good once erased; we need transparency rules preventing police departments from deleting damning footage.
Clinton approves of President Obama’s $75 million push to help states buy 50,000 police body cameras, and her decision to take a stance so early on in her campaign suggests this is going to be a political issue.
Image: AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes