BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Shocking video of a Baltimore City police officer punching a man in the street may mean big changes for the department. Monday night, the City Council introduced a bill requiring all police officers to wear body cameras. Some say it can’t come quickly enough.
Meghan McCorkell has the controversial legislation.
Others say the process should not be fast-tracked before there are solid policies in place.
Blow after blow—surveillance camera video shot in June captured a Baltimore City police officer repeatedly punching a man. The shocking tape is now leading to change.
The City Council is proposing legislation requiring all officers wear body cameras with video and audio for accountability.
“I believe that most of our officers are decent, law-abiding officers. It’s just a small percentage that’s taking the whole police department down,” said City Council President Jack Young.
Qiara Butler has been waiting for this. Her cousin, Tyrone West, died during an encounter with police. A review ruled the officers did not use excessive force.
“In the independent review, it stated that they had made over 30 tactical errors and I feel like those errors would have never happened and my cousin would still be alive if the body cameras had already been implemented,” Butler said.
But the cameras come with controversy. Officials with the ACLU say while they support the use of body cameras, they have concerns.
“Specific regulations must be in effect before the first camera ever starts rolling,” said ACLU attorney David Rocah.
Rocah says the cameras can be a critically important police accountability tool but the public must have input in how they are used.
“There needs to be limits on retention, limits on access and there needs to be the ability of the person recorded to access that recording,” Rocah said.
City leaders say they plan to get feedback before putting the cameras into play.
The first public hearing on the body cameras isn’t expected until mid-October.
The cost of the cameras would be well over a million dollars. City council leaders say it would come out of the police budget.
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