NYPD begins test of using body cameras on officers

World Today

New York Police Department Sgt. Joseph Freer, left, discusses a body camera held by Mayor Bill de Blasio during a news conference, Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014 in New York. The nation’s largest police department is beginning with an experimental deployment of the cameras which will record encounters between police and civilians. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

The New York City police on Friday piloted a program to fit officers with body cameras in response to nationwide protests about the July 17 chokehold death of Eric Garner, a 43-year-old father of six.

The program is said to be a responsive measure to counter the amateur video recording of police action like that involved in Garner’s death nearly five months ago. Some argue that such recording might not be accurate. But New Yorkers are yet to be convinced on whether the responsive measure will succeed, or at least work.

Most of the protesters — who are holding the justice system accountable — say wearing body cameras can not eradicate deeply rooted racism and injustice.

“Eric Garner’s murder was caught entirely on film and the police officer who killed him has still not been indicted. So it kind of makes you wonder whether or not body cameras would actually do anything,” said a New Yorker.

“It’s not gonna fix it. We already had videos for this. I don’t think that will fix it. There’s a lot more that’s systemic about the training, about a lot of other institutional issues that need to be considered. That alone will not do it,” said another citizen.

Demonstrations expanded in New York City on Thursday after a grand jury decided not to indict the police officer who was involved in Garner’s death.

Garner died on July 17 after police officers attempted to arrest him for allegedly selling loose, untaxed cigarettes on Staten Island, New York. A video shot by an onlooker at the time shows Garner telling officers to leave him alone as they tried to arrest him, and one officer then responded by wrapping his arm around Garner’s neck in what appeared to be a chokehold.

Violence erupted in the country and distrust between citizens and police officers forced President Barack Obama to pledge funds to purchase body-worn cameras to record police on the job. Of the fund, 75 million U.S. dollars will be used to purchase up to 50,000 camera for police department nationwide.