Norton, Beyer ask for body and dashboard cameras for federal officers

After bipartisan police reform talks collapsed in Congress last week, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., and Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., sent letters Monday to President Joe Biden, Capitol Police Board Chair Karen Gibson and Supreme Court Justice John Roberts asking that they require body-worn and dashboard cameras for federal officers under their command.

A bill from Norton and Beyer requiring uniformed federal police officers use the cameras put forward after the 2017 killing of Bijan Ghaisar by U.S. Park Police has been passed in the House twice as part of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

“[W]e urge you to implement the policies outlined in the Federal Police Camera and Accountability Act (H.R. 1163), which directs all uniformed federal police officers to wear body cameras and all marked federal police cars to have dashboard cameras,” the letters state.

“While some federal law enforcement agencies have begun to adopt camera programs, we strongly believe that every federal law enforcement agency should be required to do so. We believe this is a simple but necessary step to protect officers and the public.”



Bipartisan talks in Congress on police reform sparked by the death of George Floyd fell apart last week. Sources told CBS News there are no plans to move ahead with the legislation.

Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, a key Democratic broker in the talks, called his Senate counterpart, Tim Scott, a Republican from South Carolina, on Wednesday to say the talks are off, one person familiar with the exchanges said.

Booker announced the end of the talks in a statement later in the day.

“Unfortunately, even with this law enforcement support and further compromises we offered, there was still too wide a gulf with our negotiating partners and we faced significant obstacles to securing a bipartisan deal,” he said.

CBS News contributed to this report,

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Editor and reporter for WTOP.com. He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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