McCaskill: If communities want federal law enforcement funds, cops should wear cameras
August 27th, 2014
12:09 AM ET
5 years ago

McCaskill: If communities want federal law enforcement funds, cops should wear cameras

(CNN) - Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill said Tuesday that police officers across the country should be required to wear body cameras in order for their departments to qualify for federal funds.

McCaskill believes that the ubiquity of cameras gives way to incidents in which only part of the story is recorded, seen or understood. So, a body camera on every officer will not only protect citizens against police misconduct, but also protect officers from wrongful accusations.

"Everywhere I go people now have cameras," said McCaskill, a Democrat. "And police officers are now at a disadvantage, because someone can tape the last part of an encounter and not tape the first part of the encounter. And it gives the impression that the police officer has overreacted when they haven't."

McCaskill made the comments at an event in Springfield, Missouri, where she answered questions about the shooting of Michael Brown by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, CNN affiliate KOLR reported.

In the wake of the shooting and community outrage to the response from Ferguson police, McCaskill has called for congressional hearings to examine a Defense Department program that allows local police departments to acquire military weaponry.

Already, President Barack Obama has called for a review of programs that allow for the transfer of military weapons to the police.

Section 1208 in the National Defense Authorization Act has allowed the Defense Department to grant military hardware to local law enforcement since 1990. A law enforcement support program, the military's Defense Logistics Agency, was established in 1999 to facilitate law enforcement militarization.

McCaskill said Thursday she hopes the Senate will embrace her body camera proposal and that it will eventually become law.

"I would like to see us say, 'If you want federal funding in your community, you've got to have body cams on your officers,'" she said. "And I think that would go a long way towards solving some of these problems, and it would be a great legacy over this tragedy that's occurred in Ferguson, regardless of what the facts say at the end as to whether or not anyone is criminally culpable."

soundoff (137 Responses)
  1. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    And police officers are now at a disadvantage, because someone can tape the last part of an encounter and not tape the first part of the encounter. And it gives the impression that the police officer has overreacted when they haven't."
    -----------------------------------------------------
    Hmm.
    Speaking of which,there was another police shooting of an unarmed civilian in the state of Missouri, city of St Louis about four days after the Ferguson "incident".
    In this case the young man did in fact steal two sodas from a convenience store, but that's where the dissimilarities end.
    Someone with a camera did indeed film the incident from beginning to end.
    They were able to bear witness to the police pumping 9 shots into the unarmed young man that the Chief of Police later claimed was holding "a knife in a menacing grip" towards officers that were at least 15-20 feet away.
    No knife in the video.
    No hands being held in any kind of menacing pose (hands at his sides).
    One more youth riddled with bullets unnecessarily.....
    Yes indeed, let's get those cameras on these officers so people can stop with the false accusations.

    August 27, 2014 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  2. Rick McDaniel

    If we want law and order in America, we cannot allow rioting and pillaging to go unpunished. Nothing is being done about that, at all.

    August 27, 2014 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  3. Anonymous

    I still do not think it is Legal for a police officer to shoot dead a unarmed Citizen,time to take the gun away from the general cops and only supervisors will be armed...

    August 27, 2014 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Anonymous

    Rudy NYC

    McCaskill's proposal is bound to be rejected by some because of the cost to purchase cameras.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    If the Ferguson PD can't afford a few bucks for a camera, then they REALLY can't afford their little million dollar armored personnel carrier.
    --------------------------–
    Uh, the defense department program GIVES the surplus equipment away. The police don't pay for it.

    I say add cameras to the list of hardware that they are GIVING away, so that they have no excuse not to use them. I understand that a state of the art body camera costs less than a $1000. Dashcams can cost nearly the same amount. Give them away. It's a one time expenditure, and it costs far less than the tanks and automatic rifles that they give away.

    August 27, 2014 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  5. Anonymous

    Rudy NYC

    With as many revenue generating traffic stops that they have been reported to have carried out, one would think that they would have dashcams.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    They must have spent all their money on their armored personnel carrier.

    August 27, 2014 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  6. Marty

    WOW talk about Big Brother is watching.

    August 27, 2014 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  7. Rudy NYC

    Anonymous

    Rudy NYC

    With as many revenue generating traffic stops that they have been reported to have carried out, one would think that they would have dashcams.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    They must have spent all their money on their armored personnel carrier.
    =====================================================================
    Uh, the defense department program GIVES the surplus equipment away. The police don't pay for it.

    Strike 2.

    August 27, 2014 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  8. Anonymous

    Rudy NYC

    I say add cameras to the list of hardware that they are GIVING away, so that they have no excuse not to use them. I understand that a state of the art body camera costs less than a $1000. Dashcams can cost nearly the same amount. Give them away. It's a one time expenditure, and it costs far less than the tanks and automatic rifles that they give away.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Ironic that we the people paid for that equipment to enable our military to create carnage around the world, but they aren't permitted to use it in the states so they GIVE it to police departments who use it to bully and intimidate the very people who pay their salaries. Surplus military equipment should be destroyed.

    August 27, 2014 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  9. Anonymous

    Marty

    WOW talk about Big Brother is watching.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    If the cops aren't breaking the law they'll have nothing to worry about, and body/dash cams would actually prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that they were in the right. Unless they're weren't.

    August 27, 2014 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  10. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Why is equal and fair treatment such a threat to so many? Could it be that you know some have an unfair advantage and that's how you think things should be but are too big of cowards to come right out and say it? There are cameras everywhere you go these days. And anyone with a brain cell knows you're always being tracked and watched online. The body cameras are a good thing and they cannot be turned off while in pursuit of a suspect. It would protect the officer and the everyday citizen.

    August 27, 2014 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  11. Gunn Sportz

    The reason Body Cams cost so much is only 1 company makes them and thats the same company that makes the Taser Guns . The downside of Body Cams on any witness to any crime committed by a true and dedicated hoodlum is the "worst thing that can go wrong in a crime " WILL go wrong at times. That wrong I speak of is a smart criminal in todays world will not hesitate to kill a police officer taking his badge that contains the camera and be on his merry way with the evidence that would catch him in the commission of his crime,,THIS gives police MORE incentive To SHOOT more bullets INTO MORE CRIMINALS.. it ain't easy if its worth doing,

    August 27, 2014 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  12. GOP = Greed Over People

    It is never morally or ethically ok, for an officer that is armed, to gun down an unarmed citizen that he has been assigned to protect. Regardless, of age, race or gender.

    August 27, 2014 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  13. Lizzie

    Harry, no it would not have been resolved within a few hour, because their are those who do not believe what's in front of them.
    Looking at the riots in Franklin, do the people have jobs, or do they have money trees growing in their backyards.

    August 27, 2014 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  14. Rudy NYC

    Gunn Sportz

    The reason Body Cams cost so much is only 1 company makes them and thats the same company that makes the Taser Guns . The downside of Body Cams on any witness to any crime committed by a true and dedicated hoodlum is the "worst thing that can go wrong in a crime " WILL go wrong at times. That wrong I speak of is a smart criminal in todays world will not hesitate to kill a police officer taking his badge that contains the camera and be on his merry way with the evidence that would catch him in the commission of his crime,,THIS gives police MORE incentive To SHOOT more bullets INTO MORE CRIMINALS.. it ain't easy if its worth doing,
    ------------------------------------
    Imagination gone wild. Could that happen? Sure, anything can happen. How likely is it to happen? Not very likely because the officer would be recording himself murdering someone.

    August 27, 2014 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  15. Lynda/Minnesota

    Oh. McCaskill is suggesting we should start policing our police? Yeah. I agree 100%.

    August 27, 2014 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  16. g

    they don,t give nothing away ,some body had to pay

    August 27, 2014 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  17. Ol' Yeller

    @sifto77
    "What a bunch of race baiting naive people on here...hard to believe people are slamming the cops and sticking up for criminals..maybe they should wait a bit next time you call them as you are being robbed or murdered.."

    Yeah!!! race baiting naive' people on here... sifto has it right! Hard to believe people are slamming the cops and sticking up for criminals who are caught black handed walking down the middle of the street in broad daylight minding their own business! Of course the Officer had the right to accost them and curse them... that's what we pay them for, right!?!?

    I'm sure if sifto has any children and they are caught walking down the middle of the street in broad daylight minding their own business, that they get the same treatment as these awful scary criminals! Cursed at, accosted, and murdered. Then, just for good measure, they can leave sifto's child's body in the hot sun for hours and tear gas anyone who complains.
    We've got to stand up and stop these teens from walking in the street... they could get hit by a car.

    August 27, 2014 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  18. rick

    As can be seen here. A OVERWHELMING majority support this idea. And also notice ITS MOSTLY FOR SAME REASONS?? Almost all replies are saying the same thing. Cops out of control in use of excessive force on unarmed prople. If anyone actualy read 1984. The parrells of big brother with politicians ignoring the masses for power. Doing everything to stay in power. The law enforcement was nothing but feared bullys everywhere. Armed to teeth. If said anything other than what told to say beaten severly. Only difference was the uniforms of millitary/police. And cameras that was manipulated to incriminate by altering the facts. A video of a officer jerking a woman out of car because asked for his name and badge number recintly was on inside eddition showed this. And was a police body cam video. All for speeding. There is only so many places a officer can "transfer" to before a killing by cop will happen. Good idea. But wont stop the fudging with a edit by the guilty..

    August 27, 2014 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  19. Lynda/Minnesota

    Marty
    WOW talk about Big Brother is watching.
    -------–

    Nah. More like the folks paying the cops wages to do their jobs are asking for accountability towards the communities they live and pay taxes in.

    August 27, 2014 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  20. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Rick McDaniel

    If we want law and order in America, we cannot allow rioting and pillaging to go unpunished. Nothing is being done about that, at all
    -----------------------------------------------------
    Sounds to me like you should wade in there and make a citizen's arrest Ricky.

    August 27, 2014 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  21. Sniffit

    WRONG.

    They should wear cameras regardless.

    August 27, 2014 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  22. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Dominican mama 4 Obama says:
    August 27, 2014 09:44 am at 9:44 am
    Rick McDaniel

    If we want law and order in America, we cannot allow rioting and pillaging to go unpunished. Nothing is being done about that, at all
    —————————————————————————————————————————————————————
    Sounds to me like you should wade in there and make a citizen’s arrest Ricky.

    Now that I'd pay to see. It could be a new reality show.

    The non-police officer Rick McDick! Any suggestions for a title....?☺️☺️

    August 27, 2014 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  23. sonny chapman

    Sounds like Common Sense Solution to a Problem. The Tea Party Folks will Oppose it.

    August 27, 2014 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  24. Sniffit

    "WOW talk about Big Brother is watching."

    Did it make a buzzing sound when it flew right over your head? This is for keeping cops honest and making sure we have footage when something goes horribly wrong as a result of a cop acting like a self-righteous, belligerent, authoritarian dillhole who thinks he can get away with anything he wants because nobody's watching and he and his police department will be in control of the story and the evidence.

    August 27, 2014 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  25. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Good Morning Wake Up!, and Lynda:
    I'm so surprised that the St Louis "incident" did not get as much attention as the Ferguson one did.
    They said that the reason why people did not demonstrate in St Louis is because the police were more forthcoming with information.....forthcoming with, from what is clearly shown on the video, false information, but information nonetheless I guess?
    I'm all for officers wearing cameras.
    If they are doing the right thing it will be shown, if they are using excessive force and fire power against unarmed citizens that will be shown as well.
    I'd be very interested, WUP, in the answer to the question that you posed the other day about how many incidents there have been of Black cops who have shot unarmed white youths.

    August 27, 2014 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
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