Ever since the shooting death of Michael Brown by Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson, there’s been an increasing number of calls for the use of body cameras by law enforcement in big cities as well as small towns. Only a few weeks ago, the Obama administration began a program to study the impact of having officers routinely wear body cams to record interactions with the public, especially with people suspected of crimes or those with whom the officer may have a controversial encounter.
As reported by USA Today, the Justice Department is putting up tens of millions of dollars toward the purchase of some 50,000 body-worn video cameras.
“Body-worn cameras hold tremendous promise for enhancing transparency, promoting accountability and advancing public safety for law enforcement officers and the communities they serve,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch said.
However, as the video associated with this report graphically shows, what those police body cams capture can also hold the tremendous potential for exposing the public to shocking, even horrifying, scenes.
The New York Daily News reports that a 47-year-old Texas man was caught on body-mounted cameras worn by two police officers as he pulled a gun on the cops, who then dropped the man in a hail of bullets. It all happened on May 31st, starting inside a restaurant in Palestine, Tx., then moving outside, where the man is seen drawing a gun that turned out to be a BB pistol.
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Identified as James Bushey of Elkhart, Tx., the man was supposedly wanted for questioning in connection with the theft of beer from a nearby store. What appeared at first to be an incident-free detention of the suspect in the restaurant’s bathroom quickly escalated into a fatal confrontation.
After an investigation by police and prosecutors, the two officers involved in the fatal shooting were cleared of wrongdoing and the recording of their actions was released. Video of the incident contains graphic images and may be disturbing to some viewers. You can watch it by clicking here.
What do you think? Is it good that the footage from police body cams is released to the public so we can all see just what happened in cases like this? Weigh in on the conversation by commenting below.
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