Eleanor Holmes Norton Wants Body Cams on All Federal Police Officers
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) and Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA) introduced a bill to require uniformed federal police officers to wear body cameras and have dashboard cameras in marked vehicles. The lawmakers introduced the measure just before the one-year anniversary of the November 17th shooting of unarmed 25-year-old Bijan Ghaisar by U.S. Park Police officers. Ghaisar was fatally shot in his car by Park Police in Fairfax County, VA after he fled a car crash and was pursued by officers. Park Police have refused to discuss the shooting, and the names of the officers involved have not been released. Federal police officers aren’t currently equipped with body cameras. The bill states that footage from federal police body cameras “may not be withheld from the public on the basis that it is an investigatory record or was compiled for law enforcement purposes” in cases where officers are the subject of the investigation. It also requires all body-camera footage to be maintained for six months and then permanently deleted. But the footage must be maintained for three years if it captures use of force or an incident subject to a complaint. Officers would be required to notify people that they are being recorded, and crime victims, witnesses, and occupants of private residences shall be asked if they want the camera turned off the bill states. In-car footage must be retained for at least 90 days, the bill states, and each vehicle should have at least 10 hours of storage and wireless microphone capability. “Federal police are late in requiring body cameras and dashboard cameras, which help ensure transparency, protect the public and officers alike and hold bad actors accountable,” Norton said in a news release. “The federal government should follow the lead of state and local law enforcement departments across the nation, including D.C.’s D.C. police, that have implemented these best policing practices.” More here.