In a move that New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg deemed “unnecessary,” a federal judge ruled that NYPD police will be wearing body cameras. This is the latest fallout from Mayor Bloomberg’s controversial “stop and frisk” policy. Stop and frisk critics claim cops use the tactic as an excuse to discriminate against minorities. Bloomberg is expected to appeal the ruling.
U.S. Judge Shira Scheindlin (no relation to Judge Judy) ordered one cop in each borough to wear a camera. She ruled that a pilot program currently in place in several other states will be tested in NYC. A report by the Washington Post details the significant decreases in citizen complaints in places that use them. Scottsdale, AZ Police Sgt. Mark Clark gave a truly insightful story to The Associated Press.
Clark stated that a citizen filed a com-plaint on a motorcycle patrol officer. Once the complaint was filed, the citizen watched the video with an officer. Once the person saw the footage from the police body camera, it was clear that they had filed a false report. Clark says the person claimed to “remember it wrong.”
The sergeant also mentioned that that instance was enough to change some of his colleagues’ minds on police body cameras. “We’re always being photograped out there, videoed by cell phone cameras. We’d prefer…to have our own video of what happened,” Clark said to the Post.
The Patrolman’s Benevolent Association, a union that represents the NYPD, spoke out against the police body camera program. The union feels that NYPD should spend the money on hiring more officers instead of loading officers down with more equipment, which they contend is a safety hazard.
Since the stop and frisk law was ruled unconstitutional, what should the mayor’s next move be? Go forth with the police body cameras? Or repeal the controversial law?