After the death of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown who was killed by Darren Wilson, a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri national protests erupted calling for the police to wear body cameras to record events similar to Brown’s.
According to the White House, the use of cameras would help bridge the gap of mistrust between the public and law enforcement. Today, the Los Angeles Police Commission is revisiting the subject with the help of the Policing Project to gather input from the community on the release of body camera footage for the Los Angeles Police Department.
Lawyer, New York University School of Law professor and director of the Policing Project Barry Friedman created the Policing Project with the mission to bring the public’s voice to policing.
Friedman along with his team of volunteers, staff, student externs and fellows, are working with criminal justice experts, community members and the police to write model rules and policies for the policing. The project also conducts a cost benefit analysis on policing practices.
According to Friedman, the current video policy states the police are not allowed to release said footage unless the footage will be used in a trial or the officers are given a court order.
To help with the task of gathering input, the Policing Project reached out to professors and students at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Law and University of California, Irvine (UCI) School of Law.
To date, UCLA School of Law, UCI School of Law, and the Policing Project at NYU School of Law have held a total of four community forums in LAPD’S four geographic bureaus. The Policing Project has also held focus groups.
The next community forum will be held on Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 6:30pm at Rita Walters Learning Complex located at 915 West Manchester Avenue. Everyone is welcome to come out and give their input.
“When an officer shoots somebody, people often get upset and they demand to know what happened,” said Friedman. “One way of knowing what happened is to see the video but under LAPD’s current policy that isn’t what will happen. If they have an opinion or they think the public should see the video or frankly if they don’t think the public should see the video, they should weigh in.”
After the last community forum is held, the Policing Project will collect the notes from the focus groups and questionnaires and summarize a report for the L.A. Police Commission. Once the commission receives the input, they will use it as a basis for their new policy.
May 7, is the last day to provide community input. To participate in the questionnaire of the community forum visit www.lapdvideo.org . For more information on Professor Friedman, his research, and published book, “Unwarranted: Policing without Permission” visit https://www.barry-friedman.com/