Body cameras to debut with Seattle police
SEATTLE - Police are set to outfit body cameras on a test-group of officers, but protesters doubt it will make any difference. More demonstrators moved through the city Wednesday night, as people showed outrage that video of a police choke-hold death wasn't enough to criminally charge a New York officer.
Many of the protesters blocking traffic on Seattle's streets demanded to know if officers will ever be held accountable when using deadly force.
"Because it's just, like when does it stop? We're unarmed," said Alissa Montaie, who burst into tears at one point while protesting.
Demonstrators expressed increasing outrage after a grand jury in New York decided no charges should be filed in the police choke-hold death of Eric Garner, which was all captured on video.
Seattle police hope a pilot program to outfit officers with body cameras will address many of the concerns. Lt. Bryan Grenon is overseeing the body camera project, which will debut with a dozen officers before the end of the year.
"It would provide transparency, not only for the officers, but also for the citizens," Grenon said.
The pilot project is testing two camera makers, Vievu and Taser. If the pilot project goes well, the goal it to make the equipment standard issue for all patrol officers. The cameras could protect police from wrongful claims of misconduct, proponents said, or provide proof if an officer crosses the line in use of force incidents.
"We think that when you have actual video footage and cameras on officers, you can start to argue the real facts of what happened," said Sydney Siegmeth, a spokesperson for Taser.
Still, some protesters say cameras won't matter if no one pays attention to what they show.
"With all these indictments and evidence, they are getting away with it, so I don't think body cameras really matter," protester Montaie said.