After weeks of unrest and abuse of protesters, the city of Ferguson has made a new addition to its police force: body cameras. Police have been criticized for their inability to produce so much as a detailed incident report regarding the shooting of Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer, their prior refusal to install dashboard cameras or utilize body cameras, or otherwise offer more than a video they have presented that allegedly shows Brown “robbing” a store — something they have admitted, even if it is true, is unrelated to Michael Brown being stopped and murdered by officer Darren Wilson.
Police have been so vile during the protests that Amnesty International observers were forcibly removed from the protests by law enforcement.
Right-wing bloggers have tried their best to paint Brown in a bad light. The Gateway Pundit claimed, fraudulently, that Wilson suffered an orbital blowout fracture during his confrontation with Brown — a lie that was repeated on major news stations with zero verification out of a desperate need to justify a white police officer shooting an unarmed black teen. Things are so bad that right-wing bloggers are desperately attempting to obtain Brown’s juvenile records in an effort to find something — anything — to use against the teen.
Despite the constant attempts to smear Brown, an independent autopsy has confirmed that there is “no evidence of a struggle” between the teen and Wilson. CNN obtained audio of the shooting, which reveals a chilling fact: Wilson fired numerous times, then paused to aim before delivering the final shots that would end Brown’s life.
Wilson’s past has also been called into question. Previously, the officer worked for the Jennings police department, which was disbanded because officers were so corrupt and racist that it was unfixable. Afterwards, Wilson applied and was hired in Ferguson.
Ferguson itself has, to say the least, a shady past. No less than six officers have been named in civil rights lawsuits, including a man who was wrongfully arrested and brutally beaten, then charged for getting his blood on officers’ uniforms. One of the officers named in a resulting lawsuit has since moved on to become a city councilwoman.
Because of the city’s shady past and conflicting claims regarding Brown’s murder, residents renewed calls for the department to be outfitted with body cameras — and it worked. Officers in Ferguson now wear small cameras clipped to their uniforms.
“They are really enjoying them,” said Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson. “They are trying to get used to using them.”
The cameras were donated by two surveillance companies, Safety Visions, and Digital Ally.
“The city of Ferguson has gone through an unfortunate series of events and Safety Vision body cameras and flashlight DVR will assist in capturing prima facie evidence for investigations involving vandalism, looting, and shots fired,” Safety Vision said in a statement.
We hope that Ferguson officers “get used to using” the cameras soon. As it is, Ferguson police hand out more arrest warrants than the city has people.
Body cameras are effective. Since Rialto, California outfitted the entire police force with cameras in 2012, public complaints against officers plummeted by 88% when compared to the prior year, and officers’ use of force decreased by 60%. Imagine that!