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Baltimore Council Approves Police Body Camera Bill

November 11, 2014  | 

The Baltimore City Council overwhelmingly voted Monday to require all of Baltimore's nearly 3,000 police officers to wear body cameras — despite arguments from the mayor's office that the council's bill is illegal and ill-considered.

City Councilman Warren Branch, the lead sponsor of the two-page bill, said residents of his district repeatedly asked him to have police wear the cameras to cut down on brutality.

The proposal would permit the Police Department to phase in use of the body cameras during the first year, the Baltimore Sun reports.

The legislation, which was approved 12-1, still needs a final vote from the council to move to the desk of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who said she will veto the measure, which she criticized as a hasty piece of bad legislation.

"If I'm an officer working in the evidence control room, I need to wear a body camera?" Rawlings-Blake said. "They were so eager to get something done, they didn't get it done right."

In a letter Monday, the mayor asked council members to hold off on the legislation until a task force she appointed can work through concerns about the program's cost and privacy issues for residents. She said she supports body cameras but objects to the council's bill.

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