U.S. Sen. Tim Scott is calling for a congressional public hearing on police officers wearing body cameras, following the shooting death of an unarmed black man in North Charleston earlier this month.
“The critical role that video of the tragic and unnecessary April 4 shooting of Walter Scott, a resident of my hometown of North Charleston, S.C., has played in the subsequent investigation is undeniable,” Scott wrote in a letter to U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Ia., chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary, and U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-Seneca, who chairs the judiciary subcommittee on crime and terrorism.
“I believe that the deployment of body-worn cameras will provide increased protections for both law enforcement officers and those they serve.”
Michael Slager, the North Charleston police officer who shot Walter Scott who later died, has been charged with murder.
Tim Scott said a hearing also should address the “multiple and complex questions surrounding the use of body cameras” – “privacy concerns, data retention and disclosure issues, and the effects of recording on community relationships.”
“At a minimum, we owe it to our communities and law enforcement officers to consider this study and other evidence to explore the wisdom of widespread deployment of body-worn cameras,” Scott wrote. “The vast majority of our nation’s police officers are honest, hardworking professionals, and these cameras can positively impact their mission to protect and serve.”
The S.C. Legislature also is considering proposals to equip state law enforcement with body cameras.
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