U.S. News

08.18.14

If Ferguson P.D. Is Too Broke to Buy Body Cameras, Let’s Do It For Them

For less than $400, the world could’ve known what transpired between Michael Brown and Officer Wilson.

For less than $400, the Ferguson Police Department could have equipped Officer Darren Wilson with a body camera such as is worn with great success in various police departments across the country.

And had Wilson been wearing one when he encountered Michael Brown, there would likely be little or be no question as to what exactly transpired.

The Ferguson Police do have two dashboard cams, but Chief Tom Jackson says he lacks the $3,000 per camera cost to install them.

As it is, the two forensic pathologists who performed an autopsy on 18-year-old Brown at the request of his family are saying that wounds from the six bullets that struck the teen could be consistent with more than one scenario.

The pathologists suggested at a press conference on Monday that Brown might have been shot while surrendering with his hands up.

Wouldn’t you want one if were good and upstanding officer who was now patrolling Ferguson and became involved in a new incident?

But the pathologists allowed that at this point their examination of the wounds does not rule out the possibility that he was charging the police officer.

“There are a number of possibilities,” said Dr. Michael Baden, the former New York City chief medical examiner who conducted the autopsy.

Even after the eyewitnesses give their accounts—Monday, a very convincing 19-year-old woman who was on her way to work came forward—and the officer gives his version, the question of what exactly happened may well remain in contention.

And that is where a body cam would no doubt have made all the difference.

Photos: Clashes in Ferguson

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Lucas Jackson/Reuters

The body cam generally favored by the police departments who use the devices is Taser’s Axon On. The company’s website touts the Axon On as ”an ultra-durable on-officer camera designed to balance both simplicity and performance.”

“A 130-degree wide-angle lens, multiple on-body mounting options," the site adds, noting that it can be mounted on everything from a shirt pocket to a utility belt.

The price is $399, which means that all 52 officers of the Ferguson Police Department could be outfitted for under $20,800.

Wouldn’t you want one if were good and upstanding officer who was now patrolling Ferguson and became involved in a new incident?

Don’t you think the residents of Ferguson would feel safer if all the officers wore a body cam?

To help furnish the whole department with body cams, go here.