Debate raging over police body cameras in the District
WASHINGTON (WJLA) —
The debate is raging over police body cameras in the District.
An 18-year-old was violently handcuffed by D.C. police over a week ago; the young man's screams haunting, sparked condemnations of police brutality and protests.
Some say if body cams had been recording the entire event, the outrage would have been muted.
"I am certain there would have been a different reaction because it would have shown the incident from the officer's point of view from the beginning to the end," said Chair of D.C. Police Union Delroy Burton.
During the hours of grueling testimony and questioning, advocates of body cameras and those with deep concerns spoke out. Much of the discussion centered on what images will be withheld under the current proposal.
"...Which could include exempting assaults committed by Police officers," said Adam Marshall, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.
D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said, "We would always protect the identity of the witness; always."
Representatives of the Muslim Community raised concerns about video of female victims of assault. They fear granting the public access will further victimize Muslim women.
"This is going to have a chilling impact in terms of reporting to law enforcement," Darakshan Raja of Muslim in America Policy Forum said.
Also among the crowd, a contingent from Black Lives Matter, who denounced the concept of police body cameras.
"I think it is a waste of time," said Aaron Goggans of the Black Lives Matter protest. "And more importantly, it's a deflection from the real issue we need to be talking about."
The debate is scheduled to conclude this evening.