#AllLivesMatter Police Body Cams Stop Officers Using Violence

Police officers shot and killed a white 19-year-old from South Carolina on July 26 while he was on a first date, but there’s been almost no national outcry, and his family says that’s because he’s white.

Zachary Hammond was among the 103 people killed by police officers in July and like him, most victims of police shootings remain anonymous.

Hammond was shot twice in the chest while his date ate an ice cream cone because someone shouted “gun” and officers opened fire striking him twice, according to the family’s lawyer. There’s also a limited amount of video footage available, as only the dash cam was operating at the time.

The issue should be: Why was an unarmed teen gunned down in a situation where deadly force was not even justified?

Every day last month at least one American was killed by a police officer and without body camera footage it’s impossible to know what really happened, yet many police departments don’t require their officers to wear them.

People just act better when there’s a camera around, but despite that, only a third of the nation’s 18,000 police departments require officers to wear body cameras.

Studies have shown that when officers wear body cams there’s a 59 percent decrease in citizen complaints and an 88 percent reduction in the use of force.

In Cincinnati, police officer Ray Tensing was charged with murder only after prosecutors were able to take a look at his body cam footage and discovered it conflicted with the story he told.

In Los Angeles, a family filed suit against the LAPD after discovering an officer’s story conflicted with his body camera footage and film taken by an innocent bystander.

It still hasn’t yielded results, however, as many law enforcement agencies in small towns across America have been slow to equip their officers with body cameras, partly because of budgetary concerns.

Body cams, although a magnificent tool for police, are expensive.

Light body cams can run as little as $199 at startup and $55 a month, but more sturdy cameras are likely to cost between $800 and $1,200 to purchase and that’s before the added cost of storing the footage.

That’s why the Obama administration proposed spending $75 million to equip the nation’s officers with body cameras and why the Department of Justice pledged an additional $20 million to the cause.

Cameras would hold officers and our deputies accountable, and (hold) the citizens also accountable to their actions.

[Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images]

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