Controversial amendment included in D.C. police body camera vote

WASHINGTON — A lot more police officers will soon wear body cameras in the District.

Under a measure approved by the D.C. Council Tuesday, the number of officer body cameras will go from around 400 to more than 2,000. It was passed unanimously, but there was some disagreement over an amendment introduced by Councilmembers Jack Evans and Mary Cheh.

The amendment allows Metropolitan Police Department officers to see their body camera footage before they write their reports about what occurred.

Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie was opposed, saying those reports should be from memory.

“Requiring officers to write first means that we get their clean, unfiltered recollection of events,” he said.

Under the amendment, the only time officers would not be able to look at the footage would be in cases of police-involved shootings.

Councilmember Jack Evans supported the proposal.

“What we want to have happen is accuracy and transparency,” he said. “The police should be allowed to view it before they do their report.”

The amendment was eventually approved on a vote of 8 to 5.

The ACLU released a statement, expressing disappointment: “Allowing officers to review footage before making an initial statement threatens to taint investigations. This provision tips the scales of justice in favor of law enforcement.”

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