Tags: Barack Obama | Ferguson in Crisis | Michael Brown Jr. | Darren Wilson | police body cameras

Brown Family Launches Petition Drive for Police Body Cameras

Image: Brown Family Launches Petition Drive for Police Body Cameras
Lesley McSpadden, center, and Michael Brown Sr., left. (Mark Kauzlarich/Reuters/Landov)

By    |   Tuesday, 09 Dec 2014 02:00 PM

The family of Michael Brown, the 18-year-old killed in Ferguson, Missouri, Aug. 9 by police officer Darren Wilson, has launched a petition drive asking Congress to approve President Barack Obama's request for $263 million to provide body cameras and training for local police.

Writing on the petition website Change.org, Brown's parents, Michael Brown Sr. and Lesley McSpadden, state, "When our unarmed son Michael Brown, Jr. was killed by a Ferguson police officer, our lives were forever changed. We are devastated and profoundly disappointed that the killer of our child will not face the consequence of his actions," a reference to the refusal of a grand jury to return an indictment against Wilson.

"Many questions remain about what happened leading up to the moment when our son was shot. But had Officer Darren Wilson been wearing a body camera, which are being worn by more and more police departments around the country, there would be no questions."

To date, the petition has drawn nearly 90,000 signatures, Change.org reports.

"Police brutality is not a Democrat or Republican issue, it’s not ‘black’ or ‘white’ issue, it’s a wrong and right issue. With claims of police brutality and excessive force at an all-time high, we must have the capability to monitor the activity of law enforcement.
Equipping police officers with body cameras is a common sense measure that will save lives, and protect both civilians and police," a letter to Congress attached to the petition states.

Obama's funding request, if approved, would provide $75 million in matching funds for body cameras for up to 50,000 police, Fox2Now reports.

The effectiveness of body cameras is illustrated by the example of Rialto, California, where a 2012 study found that after police started wearing body cameras, public complaints against police dropped 88 percent and use of force fell 60 percent, the Electronic Frontier Foundation reports.

If the funding request is passed, it would provide a windfall to companies like Taser International and Vievu, which manufacture the devices, and have already seen their stock prices shoot up in anticipation that the bill will be approved, The Boston Globe reports.

Taser CEO Patrick Smith told the Globe, "We are feeling phenomenal right now. What everybody thought was crazy five years ago is now accepted as inevitable."

However, the bill would provide for body cameras only for slightly more than 10 percent of the 461,000 sworn police officers in the U.S.

"Equipping police officers with body cameras is a common sense measure that will save lives, and protect both civilians and police. It has been shown that the presence of body cameras on police helps reduce claims of excessive force and brutality, lowering the need for costly litigation," the petition states.

"We want to work to make a difference and prevent what happened to Michael from happening to others. We're asking Congress to pass the Michael Brown, Jr. Law by approving this plan."

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The family of Michael Brown, the 18-year-old killed in Ferguson, Missouri, Aug. 9 by officer Darren Wilson, has launched a petition drive asking Congress to approve President Barack Obama's request for $263 million to provide body cameras and training for police.
Michael Brown Jr., Darren Wilson, police body cameras
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2014-00-09
Tuesday, 09 Dec 2014 02:00 PM
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