Senate to hold hearings on police body cameras

AP News
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Posted: Apr 22, 2015 7:08 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — As the death of another black man while in police custody sparked ongoing protests in a nearby city, the Senate on Wednesday prepared to discuss more widespread use of police body cameras.

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., called for the body-camera hearings following the fatal shooting in North Charleston of a black man.

"I believe the deployment of body-worn cameras will provide increased protections for both law enforcement and those they serve," Tim Scott said.

The hearing has not been scheduled. "It's a great idea and I appreciate Tim for pushing it forward," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. and chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism.

Scott, in a letter to Graham and Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, called the North Charleston incident "tragic and unnecessary."

Walter Scott, who was 50 and not related to the senator, was shot in the back and killed by a North Charleston officer on April 4. The shooting was not captured by the officer's dashboard camera, which shows what appears to be a routine traffic stop until Walter Scott takes off running. But a bystander captured the episode on an iPhone camera, which shows the officer firing eight times at Walter Scott.

The officer has been fired and arrested.

A few miles from the Capitol, protests continued Wednesday in Baltimore over the death of Freddy Gray, 25, who somehow suffered a fatal spinal-cord injury after being handcuffed and put in the back of a police van. The Justice Department has opened a civil rights investigation into Gray's death, and six Baltimore police officers have been suspended while the department tries to determine the circumstances of the fatal event.