“There is little debate that all patrol officers should be issued BWCs,” wrote attorney Eugene Ramirez in a white paper his law firm issued on so-called body worn cameras (BWCs). Ramirez is correct that there is little debate. In the wake of the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., the bandwagon for a body camera mandate has never been bigger.
The chattering classes and political elite agree: we need a “Mike Brown law.” And like any proposed law named after a dead youngster, it’s an urgent call to mandate something now. But there should be a debate, becausecosts, benefits, and unintended consequences matter.
This is not to say that there is no debate. Police unions have pushed back against such mandates, though they are among the only ones. The thing is, they have a point.
Not all body cameras are created equal. Some record for four hours, others twelve. Some have multiple components and wires, some do not. Unions are concerned about wired cameras shocking officers and the additional weight cameras carry for already-heavily equipped officers. More likely, however, is the risk of head injury for officers who would wear them on ridiculous looking head bands, should they be assaulted or involved in a situation where the camera is struck against their temple.
In a report he prepared for the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs Diagnostics Center (OJPDC), Michael White notes: “there has been no research examining health and safety issues associated with body-worn cameras.” It appears our government has done more research on the health and safety issues surrounding bean bag chairs and desk magnets than it has on what can be a valuable policing tool.
Supporters of body camera mandates point to studies funded and performed by the body camera manufacturers to justify a quick rush to adoption. The most commonly cited is a study, done by the TASER corporation on its products’ use in Rialto, California. The study says it was a “comprehensive, randomized experiment” but the rest of the first sentence reads more like a product advertisement, as it “proves that TASER’s AXON cameras reduced citizen complaints by 87.5% and reduced use of force by 59%.” TASER’s Axon Pro system costs $1,700 a unit, according to a report by the Spokane, Washington, police ombudsman.
White's report for the OJPDC urges caution before jumping to the conclusion that more body cameras are the sole reason:
On Thursday, Republican senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Democratic senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri joined with several female veterans of the armed forces to speak out against a proposal that would create a new justice system for serious military prosecutions, independent of military commanders.
By now, almost everyone knows the lurid truth about the military—or they think they do. Last month, after a 2012 survey showed that sexual assault against servicewomen had risen dramatically in the last fewyears, the media went into overdrive. The Washington Post called it an “epidemic.” The New York Times blamed the rise on “the military’s entrenched culture of sexual violence.”
Senator Claire McCaskill has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president in 2016 and this is all the buzz (that is the right word, isn't it?) atMorningJoeand other places where the insiders gather and do careful, elaborate dissections of the day's essential news.
Support for Republican Todd Akin’s decision to stay in the Missouri Senate race has cratered and so has his favorability. Those findings come from two new polls conducted after Akin created a firestorm with his comment about “legitimate rape.”
Conservative congressman Todd Akin has won a tough three-way Republican primary for Senate in Missouri, the Associated Press reports. In a race that had been close between Akin, businessman John Brunner, and former state treasurer Sarah Steelman, the seven-term representative from northeastern Missouri pulled ahead with more than 36 percent of the vote. Polls showed the primary remained tight just days before the election, and each candidate had support for major conservative figures and groups.
Rep. Steve Israel, chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, is urging Democratic candidates to skip his party's national convention in September.
"If they want to win an election, they need to be in their districts," Israel reportedly said at a Reuters conference, according to Reuters.
"I don't care if the president was at 122 percent favorability right now," he said. "I think (candidates) should be in their districts," rather than spend time at the convention, which will be in Charlotte, North Carolina, September 3-6.
A new ad from Crossroads GPS ties Democratic senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri to President Barack Obama and his signature legislative achievement, Obamacare. The ad calls the pair "ObamaClaire" and reminds voters that McCaskill, who is up for reelection this November, voted for Obamacare in the Senate. Watch the ad below:
If you're shocked by this, you haven't been paying attention: "CAUGHT ON TAPE: Former SEIU Official Reveals Secret Plan To Destroy JP Morgan, Crash The Stock Market, And Redistribute Wealth In America"
In a conference call with reporters, Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill just disclosed that she failed to pay $287,000 in property taxes related to her co-ownership of a private aircraft. This scandal comes quickly on the heels of recent revelations that McCaskill improperly billed taxpayers for use of the same private aircraft, for which McCaskill reimbursed the Treasury $88,000:
As a Democratic Senator somehow elected last year in a state where Barack Obama has some of his lowest approval ratings, Joe Manchin is a curious bellweather. The more he has to run from Obama and the more he feels empowered to publicly criticize the head of his party, the more Obama it suggests the President is out of touch with the kind of blue collar voters and Reagan Democrats he's going to need to win the White House again.