Ripples of the death of Michael Brown are still being felt across the nation.
The shooting of the unarmed black teen August of 2014 in Ferguson, Mo has sparked multiple uprisings of racial unrest.
Brown’s family is urging Missouri lawmakers to pass a law requiring police to wear body cameras, and this week, Senator Jamilah Nasheed of St. Louis sponsored Senate Bill 628 which would require law enforcement agencies in cities with at least 100,000 residents wear a camera while on duty, and in uniform, to record the entirety of all official interactions.
The officers must activate the camera to record, from beginning to end, all contacts with people in the performance of their official duties.
Brown’s mother, Lezley McSpadden, told a Senate panel that these cameras would go a long way to help restore community trust.
“As a mother who lost her son,” McSpadden said, “I ask you to not let this bill just sit on your desk. This is not a black or white issue. This is a right and wrong issue.”
Nasheed said the state would pay for the cameras, and funding was part of the reason for the population limit.
Ferguson adopted the body cameras after Brown’s death, but this bill would bring in five Missouri cities which currently fall into that category: St. Louis, Kansas City, Independence, Springfield and Columbia.
Nasheed said she would eventually like to expand the measure to the Missouri State Highway Patrol and other large departments, such as the St. Louis County Police Department.
The bill would require the recordings from the cameras to be retained by the law enforcement agency for at least two years as open records in the same manner as incident reports are open records.
Officers who fail to record a contact will be suspended without pay until the completion of an investigation into why the contact was not recorded.
No one spoke against the bill, nor did any law enforcement officials testify, and representatives with the Missouri Fraternal Order of Police did not respond to a request for comment.
“Michael Brown, my son, was not some fictional character or Incredible Hulk,” McSpadden added. “He was my son. You don’t know my son. This evidence can also ensure that one’s guilt or innocence is determined in a court of law, and not in the court of public opinion.”