Tags: South Carolina | police | shooting | body cameras

SC Shooting Bolsters Nationwide Call for Police Body Cams

By    |   Thursday, 09 Apr 2015 11:48 AM

The brazen shooting Saturday of an unarmed black man by a white policeman in South Carolina, caught on cellphone video and prompting the officer's arrest for murder, has renewed calls nationwide for police body cameras, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Before a bystander captured the shocking daytime shooting, a bill was moving slowly through the South Carolina statehouse as law enforcement expressed concerns that such cameras could impede their privacy and investigations, the Journal said.

Now, however, renewed interest in the legislation is bipartisan as the state mourns and looks for answers in the slaying amid national outcry for justice, the Journal said.

The shooting, described by one South Carolina lawmaker as "sickening," fuels a fire that began last year in Ferguson, Missouri, after a white officer shot an unarmed black man. That incident, in which the officer was later cleared of any wrongdoing, prompted riots and a federal investigation that has shaken up city governance and brought attention from Washington, where a heightened push for police cameras has been embraced by President Barack Obama.

Currently, reported the Journal, it's estimated that about 4,000 to 6,000 police departments (out of 18,000) around the country use small cameras worn on officers' uniforms.

There is some anecdotal evidence that they reduce use-of-force incidents and complaints. In San Diego, such complaints against officers in divisions using body cameras fell 41 percent, the Journal said.

In North Charleston, South Carolina, where the latest shooting occurred, 250 body cameras have been ordered, one for every officer working on the streets, NBC News reported.

Body camera advocates said that Officer Michael Slager would not have been implicated in the shooting if a bystander hadn't taken a video of the shooting as the policeman pulled out a Glock and shot Walter Scott eight times, the National Journal said. Slager remains jailed on charges of murder.

"The shooting would never have moved into the consciousness of Americans but for that camera," U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, a Missouri Democrat, who introduced legislation for the cameras, told the Journal.

"The case for police officers to wear them was made as profoundly in [North Charleston] as it could be made," he said.

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The brazen shooting Saturday of an unarmed black man by a white policeman in South Carolina, caught on cellphone video and prompting the officer's arrest for murder, has renewed calls nationwide for police body cameras, The Wall Street Journal reported.
South Carolina, police, shooting, body cameras
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2015-48-09
Thursday, 09 Apr 2015 11:48 AM
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