SRB: Crime Cameras Encouraged on Homes & Businesses, Body Cameras on Cops ‘Illegal’

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citiwatch-beleiveSMWhether they’re on your house or a police officer, cameras are changing the way crime is investigated. This week, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake embraced a new program that would allow Baltimoreans to turn their private cameras into a network. But she wasn’t quite ready for the police to wear devices that would film the incidents they’re involved in.

On Thursday, Rawlings-Blake pushed a new measure that allows residents and businesses to register their cameras with the CitiWatch program. The registration allows police to have access to footage from the cameras right away. The city already has hundreds of cameras deployed as part of the program. The new part of the program will introduce even more, plus give police access to personal footage. Anyone worried about civil liberties?

The Citiwatch cameras were in the spotlight recently, after one recorded footage of police officer Vincent Cosom beating a suspect at a bus stop. The footage lead Cosom to be charged this week for the beating and lying on a police report, according to CBS Baltimore. But in the future, some city officials don’t want to depend on Citiwatch for footage of such explosive incidents.

As one way of addressing police brutality, City Council officials have floated a proposal that would require all police officers to wear body cameras while on duty. But the city solicitor said the bill is “illegal” because it violates a portion of city code that requires lawmakers from meddling in the police department, according to the Baltimore Sun. Rawlings-Blake came back Wednesday with a threat to veto the bill if the legal questions weren’t resolved.

“The city is going to have body cameras,” Rawlings-Blake said. Just not yet.



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