unrest over shooting, Ferguson police now wear body cameras
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[September 02, 2014]
By Victoria Cavaliere
(Reuters) - Police officers in Ferguson,
Missouri, have begun wearing body cameras after weeks of unrest over the
shooting death of an unarmed black teen by a white officer and sharply
differing accounts of the incident, officials said on Sunday.
Michael Brown, 18, was shot multiple times by Ferguson Police
Officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9, sparking nearly three weeks of
angry protests in the St. Louis suburb and drawing global attention
to race relations in the United States.
Law enforcement and witnesses gave differing accounts of what
transpired before Brown was shot, with police saying the teen had
struggled with the officer. Witnesses say Brown held up his hands
and was surrendering when he was shot multiple times in the head and
The discrepancy has revived calls for officers across the county to
be outfitted with body cameras to help capture an accurate record of
The policy has the support of scores of law enforcement agencies and
the American Civil Liberties Union. Opponents say the cameras could
be an invasion of privacy and deter people from approaching police
with a tip.
During protests on Saturday, Ferguson officers began wearing small
body cameras clipped to their uniforms that recorded crowds,
conversations and even some taunts by demonstrators, a police
official said on Sunday.
Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
the cameras have been well received by officers.
"They are really enjoying them," he said. "They are trying to get
used to using them."
The cameras were donated by two video surveillance companies, Safety
Visions and Digital Ally. In a statement on its website, Safety
Vision said it donated the cameras in the hopes that they could
bring transparency to future investigations.
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"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," the statement said.
Some stores were looted in nightly protests, and police responded
with riot gear and moved in military equipment to try to quell the
A St. Louis County grand jury has begun hearing evidence about
Brown's killing and the U.S. Justice Department has opened its own
(Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and
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