Baltimore Body Cameras Passed Despite Mayor’s Veto Vow

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Bill passed but veto pending. The City Council passes the body camera bill that would equip all city police officers with recording devices. The mayor says the bill is illegal and has now formed a new work group to do it the right way.

Rochelle Ritchie has the very latest.

Well, we are talking about a program that could come with a $10 million price tag. The work group made up of clergyman, delegates and members of the ACLU. The group will look at the issue of privacy, costs and other issues that surround body cameras.

It’s a City Hall divided as the mayor goes forward with a plan she calls with a legal approach to the use of body cameras at the Baltimore City Police Department.

“You can’t flip a switch and make that happen. You have to have a comprehensive and thoughtful approach to make sure we get it right,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said.

The mayor and City Council have gone back and forth over whether or not the bill is even legal. But on Monday night, despite the mayor’s threat to veto the legislation, the council passed it 13 to 1.

Council President Bernard Jack Young , one of the bill sponsors, told WJZ last month the council is not overstepping its boundaries .

“We’ve done several things with the police department; it’s all interpretation,” Young said.

Delegate Curt Anderson says it’s more important to get it right then to simply get it done.

“You really do have to sit down and look at it from a cost standpoint, from a privacy standpoint before you can do it,” Anderson said.

Anderson is part of a new task force group developed by the mayor to learn more about how body cameras currently work in other jurisdictions.

Body cameras have been a hot topic at City Hall over the last few months after several incidents of police brutality were caught on video.

Our media partners have found taxpayers have paid $11.5 million to settle lawsuits of alleged police brutality.

Jacqueline Caldwell, who is also on the work group, says the cameras are a must–not only for safety of residents but also to hold police accountable.

“I am concerned about the young people being pulled over and being treated a certain way and there is no record of it,” Caldwell said.

The task force is expected to meet several more times before the end of the year with hopes of having a plan together by January.

The council could vote to override the mayor’s veto.

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