A petition to require all state, county, and local police officers to wear body cameras has blown past the signature threshold on The White House's We The People online petition site in just a week. This prompts The White House, at least in theory, to craft a response.
Petition creator J.C. from Hephzibah, Georgia (petitioners on the We The People site are anonymous) proposes a "Mike Brown Law," referencing the unarmed teenager that was shot and killed by Ferguson, Missouri police nearly two weeks ago, prompting this mess. Images and videos of a heavily militarized police force roaming the streets of Ferguson have permeated the national dialogue over the past 10 days.
The petition asks the Obama administration to...
Create a bill, sign into law, and set aside funds to require all state,county, and local police, to wear a camera. Due to the latest accounts of deadly encounters with police, We the People, petition for the Mike Brown Law. Create a bill, sign into law, and set aside funds to require all state,county, and local police, to wear a camera. The law shall be made in an effort to not only detour police misconduct (i.e. brutality, profiling, abuse of power), but to ensure that all police are following procedure, and to remove all question, from normally questionable police encounters. As well, as help to hold all parties within a police investigation, accountable for their actions.
The petition currently boasts over 135,000 signatures out of the 100,000 required to generate an official response.
In other petition news, a Change.org petition with a more specific goal – to force Ferguson and St. Louis County police to wear body cameras – is nearing its 50,000 -signature threshold.
The City of Ferguson has promised to "raise funds to secure dash and vest cams for our patrol cars."
Forcing police to wear vest cams isn't an entirely new idea. A select number of police forces around the country have begun to equip all officers with cameras – most notably the force in Rialto, California.
Those cameras have been recording for about a year – with drastic results. Apparently, incidents of 'use of force' by police dropped 60 percent, and the number of complaints against officers fell 88 percent.
People behave differently when they know they're being watched. And this is relevant for both the police and the citizen population. Proponents of officer cams argue that not only will the cameras help to 'police the police', if you will, but will also help to protect the police from things like false claims of brutality.
The shooting of Mike Brown and the subsequent craziness in Ferguson, MO, have put police tactics at the forefront of the American conversation. It's clear by the quick support of these petitions that people are concerned about police action and police accountability going forward. The White House is not required by law or anything to respond to petitions that succeed, but they say they "plan to respond to each petition that crosses the signature threshold."
As we know, they're often a little slower than some would like when it comes to crafting those responses.
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