Footage of the hearing in Los Angeles regading police body cameras may be found here.
In December, the Los Angeles Police Department announced that every police officer will soon be equipped with a body camera. As reported by Huffington Post, Mayor Eric Garcetti said at a press conference that the department will buy 7,000 body camera for LAPD officers. “The trust between a community and its police department can be eroded in a single moment,” Garcetti said. “Trust is built on transparency.”
However, advocacy groups from (including the ACLU) are extremely concerned about how these cameras will affect people’s privacy rights. Unfortunately, there are few written policies for the use of police body cameras. Indeed, as the Los Angeles Times reported, “A recent federal survey of 63 law enforcement agencies using body cameras said nearly a third of the agencies had no written policy on the devices. (It is not known how many agencies overall currently use body cameras.)”
Last week, the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition encouraged individuals to attend two hearings held by the Los Angeles Police Commission, designed to hear concerns from the commuity. The Stop LAPD Spying coalition listed several reasons why the community should reject the use of police body cameras:
- Body cameras will not reduce police brutality–even with camera footage, officers aren’t indicted—ook at case of Eric Gardner. The video captured the officer engaging in a choke hold and using excessive force, but was not reprimanded.
- Officers sabotage recording devices. In April 2014, reports surfaced that LAPD officers sabotaged 90 out of 300 squad cars by tampering with antennas that fee video and voice monitoring equipment. This was mainly in the South East Bureau neighborhoods where mostly people of color reside.
- If body cameras won’t resolve police brutality, what will they be used for? Surveillance and gathering people’s information- the police have a history of collecting personal data during daily contact with people, which is on the rise as technology increases.
- Body cameras are a waste of public resources! Instead of bringing profit to Taser Camera System, more investment is needed to create real public safety and not just temporarily band aid the growing violence of police brutality.