WASHINGTON -- Hillary Clinton on Wednesday called for every police department in the country to use body cameras, as part of her vision for fundamentally reforming the criminal justice system in America.
"We should make sure every police department in the country has body cameras to record interactions between officers on patrol and suspects," Clinton said. "That will improve transparency and accountability, it will help protect good people on both sides of the lens. For every tragedy caught on tape, there surely have been many more that remained invisible."
Clinton made the comments at Columbia University, where she gave the keynote address for the 18th Annual David N. Dinkins Leadership and Public Policy Forum.
Police departments have faced increased pressure to give their officers body cameras following the deaths of Tamir Rice in Ohio, Walter Scott in South Carolina and Eric Garner in New York, all of whom were black and died at the hands of police officers. Their deaths were caught on video, and the recordings contradicted officers' versions of events.
But visual proof doesn't mean that officers will automatically face criminal charges. In December, for example, a grand jury declined to indict the officer who put Garner in the chokehold that led to his death.
"Not every problem can be or will be prevented by cameras," Clinton acknowledged, "but this is a common-sense step we should take."
"The president has provided the idea of matching funds to state and local governments investing in body cameras," she added. "We should go even further and make this the norm everywhere, and we should listen to law enforcement leaders who are calling for a renewed focus on working with communities to prevent crime, rather than measuring success just by the number of arrests or convictions."
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