FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Last week responding to City Council pressure the Houston Police Department proposed a hastily put together body camera policy without public input full of loopholes to transparency and accountability. Local community and civil rights groups will present a transparent, accountable body camera policy October 13, 2015 at the Houston City Council public meeting. A coalition of 26 community and civil rights group has passed a resolution on police body cameras which protects the public. See attached.
“The City must have input from the stakeholders in formulating the body camera policy,” said Councilmember C. O. Bradford.
“Although the city of Houston has allocated moneys for the purchase of body cameras, HPD continues to drag their feet under the excuse of waiting for the technology to improve! Body camera technology is mature and reliable at this time and numerous cities, counties, and municipalities across the USA are already using them. It is high time that HPD gets serious about purchasing and implementing body cameras with input from the community,” said Agustin Pinedo, Civil Rights Chair, Greater Houston LULAC Council, “To that end the GHCFJ is coming to City Council to provide input as to guidelines and policies that must be implemented to make body cameras tamper proof, and transparent.”
“Without a sound body camera policy it will be the same old secrecy that has kept video evidence of police use of force out of the public eye,” said civil rights attorney Randall Kallinen, “Millions of public dollars will be spent and then the truth withheld from the public.”
“Even though I believe most Police Officers in this nation are good men and women, there is a rising level of distrust of Police all over this nation. Video after video of officer planting drugs, beating handcuffed citizens and shooting and killing unarmed citizens is taking its toll on the confidence that citizens used to have in police officer,” said former HPD police seargent and civil rights activist Shelby Stewart, “These incidents bring about what has happened in Baltimore, Ferguson, New York City, and Los Angeles. There must be a credible, strong policy that deals with Body Cams, where people can have confidence that officers cant turn them off when they feel like it or not turn the camera on in order to violate a policy or law. That’s why sunshine is the greatest disinfectant. The police department can’t hide video from the public and expect to maintain trust with the citizens. Transparency is what will make the citizens truly believe that the police department is here to protect and serve.”
There will be a press conference with the Greater Houston Coalition For Justice and concerned community members will occur and then public speaking at the City Council meeting:
DATE: Tuesday, October 13, 2015, 1:00 P.M. (afterwards there will be public speaking at City Council meeting)
PLACE: Lobby, 2nd Floor, Houston City Hall, 901 Bagby