WASHINGTON — Sen. Tim Scott on Wednesday said body cameras would have “substantially” made a difference in determining what happened to Freddie Gray, the Baltimore man whose death has sparked protests and riots in the last week.
“Obviously if you had six officers with six different police cameras, six different angles, we would know exactly what happened,” Scott said of Gray, who died after suffering a spinal cord injury while in police custody.
Scott, a black Republican from South Carolina, has been calling for the Senate to hold hearings on the use of body cameras in the deadly shooting of Walter Scott in his hometown of North Charleston.
“We should always have as much evidence from the scene as possible. Body cameras provides us the opportunity to gather that information real time and to store it ,to use it in criminal investigations and I think today we have a different outcome,” Scott said on CNN’s “New Day.”
He also said that a camera in the van where Gray fell unconscious would have helped too.
Scott said body cameras would also help change behaviors, pointing to studies that suggest complaints against law enforcement and officers’ use of force dropped substantially at departments that adopted body cameras.
“I believe body cameras will help keep more people alive and will help to restore confidence that communities have in law enforcement officers,” Scott said. “When you’re on film your behavior changes. I think it makes your officers safer and it makes your communities safer.”
The Baltimore City Council passed a bill last November that would have forced officers to suit up with a body camera, but Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake vetoed the bill saying that she had issues with the legislation, but not the use of body cameras in general.