SC Legislators File Body Camera Bill to Prevent Excessive Force Injuries

SC Legislators File Bill to Require Body Cameras on Police to Prevent Excessive Force Injuries

body cameraPolice officers are currently required to use dash cams in their vehicles to document DUI or car accident stops, as well as monitor police behavior at the scene of a crime. However, many concerned citizens are advocating that police officers be required to wear a body camera, due to allegations of excessive force across the country.

Now, two South Carolina state senators have filed legislation for consideration in the 2015 sessions, which could require SC police officers to wear body cameras to help prevent incidents of injury or death involving excessive force.

“I think that we are looking at an age and time where transparency is the order of the day,” said Senator Gerald Malloy. Senator Malloy filed the legislation with Senator Marlon Kimpson.

“It’s important to note that while a dashboard camera did not stop South Carolina highway trooper Sean Groubert from shooting Levar Jones, it did lead to the officer’s firing and arrest,” Kimpson said of an incident of excessive force in the southern state. “Body cameras would provide everyone a clearer picture of the facts.”

Because the cameras are worn on the officer’s person, the range of filming widens to include every movement the officer makes, and therefore allows victims, suspects, attorneys, and other officers to hold police accountable or prove their innocence in excessive force claims.

“Some of the early studies say that it cuts down on citizen complaints, it stops as many confrontations with officers and I think at the end of the day it will help with the training of confrontations with officers and civilians.”

“In the trial period we were able to clear a complaint that some called in,” said Springdale Police Chief Kevin Cornett.

“It’s a win-win for law enforcement officers and citizens,” Charleston state Rep. Wendell Gilliard said. “This is not a solve-all but it will be a major improvement.”

Rep. Gilliard also suggested that criminals pay for the expensive body cameras. When cars, boats, guns, and other expensive personal items are seized during an investigation and used as evidence, and the owner ends up in jail, the items are auctioned off. The police keep 75% of the proceeds; 20% goes to attorneys’ fees; and 5% goes to the state. Annually, that 5% adds up to $100,000 to $200,000 – enough to help pay for body cameras to prevent excessive force. Gilliard even proposed raising the percentage to 10% or 15%.

“As chair of the Criminal Task Force, Sentence Reform Commission, Sentencing Oversight Commission and author of numerous bills in the criminal arena, my experience informs me that police officers should be collecting more evidence all the time,” stated Senator Malloy. “History has demonstrated that eyewitnesses are not always the most reliable form of evidence. It is time for South Carolina to invest in common sense technology. This investment is critical to preserving the integrity of our system of justice.”

Protect Your Rights through Civil Litigation Against Excessive Force and Police Brutality

If you or a loved one has been a victim of police brutality or excessive force, contact our South Carolina victim’s assistance attorneys at The Strom Law Firm, LLC today for a free consultation to see how we can help.  While we cannot change the past, we can help you secure your future. 803.252.4800

Leave a Reply