On Tuesday, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that the city will purchase 7,000 body cameras for Los Angeles Police Department officers, the Los Angeles Times reported. In the wake of protests in Ferguson and the rest of the country, one tangible cop accountability policy has risen to the top: body cameras for police officers. President Obama requested $263 million to go in part toward equipping police officers with 50,000 body cameras. While Washington, D.C. and New York City are piloting body-mounted cameras for their police forces, Los Angeles is committing itself to the program.
Body-worn cameras “are not a panacea, but they are a critical part of the formula,” Garcetti said Tuesday, the LA Times reported. “The trust between a community and its police department can be eroded in a single moment. Trust is built on transparency.”
And yet, for black men whose recent police killings have been recorded, transparency hasn’t translated into justice, Saint Louis University School of Law professor Justin Hansford recently wrote for the Washington Post. And that’s even when the cameras are on. Earlier this year, LAPD officers in a South L.A. patrol division were found to have tampered with the cameras installed in patrol cars to avoid being recorded, the Los Angeles Times reported.