across the country are rushing to pass body camera legislation that primarily benefits police, a California Assembly panel approved
what may be the most intelligent and thoughtful legislation yet on police-worn body cameras:
Despite opposition from law enforcement groups, a state Assembly panel approved legislation Tuesday that would set strict rules for police officers wearing body cameras, including a prohibition on officers reviewing video footage before they make their initial statement on use-of-force incidents.
Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) said she introduced the measure to “to ensure the public’s trust in law enforcement” after a series of recent police shootings of unarmed African American men.
The Assembly Public Safety Committee voted 5-1 to approve the measure, which sets statewide standards for use by law enforcement agencies that decide to require their officers to wear body cameras.
Footage from body cameras must not be tampered with or used by police to shape their narratives. Time and time again, like in the cases of Officer Bill Melendez
in Michigan or Officer Sean Courter
in New Jersey, the dash camera footage wildly contradicted the false narratives told by police to incriminate people. If police are able to first view body camera footage, then write their reports, they will be able to write fictional narratives around what the footage does or does not show. Instead, officers should be required to give immediate statements following incidents of violence. Body camera or dash camera footage should be quickly secured and later matched up with officer statements.
Regretfully, it looks like we are on pace to have at least 50 different policies on body cameras for every state in the union. A national standard would be enormously helpful at this time.