Public Advocate Shows Off Police Body Cameras

NEW YORK (AP) -

Compelled by video of a police arrest death and the lack of such evidence in the fatal shooting of a Missouri teenager, a top New York City official Thursday intensified her push to equip the city’s 35,000 officers with body-worn cameras.

Public Advocate Letitia James held a demonstration of the cameras, which she said would protect residents from misconduct and police officers from false allegations.

“This simple tool will go a long way in improving police-community relations in New York City,” James said, holding up a camera that records up to 45 hours of audio and video.

The pilot program would cost about $5 million and outfit about 15 percent of the force — primarily in areas with high rates of crime and misconduct complaints.

“It’s a win-win for both the police and the community,” James said, adding that Mayor Bill de Blasio is reviewing the proposal.

Patrick Lynch, president of the powerful Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association police union has said he wants to see evidence of the cameras’ effectiveness. He said the city spends so much on legal costs because it “refuses to fight even the most ridiculous and baseless of the claims.”