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July 28th, 2017

Body Cameras Prevent Mistreatment

Editor,

The massive public reaction to the tragic deaths of three black teens at the hand of white police officers has led to a national call for use of body cameras to record and prevent any future mistreatment of suspects.

There is ample precedent. Animal protection activists have used body cameras to document egregious atrocities and safety violations by workers in the meat, dairy, and egg industries. The resulting videos have led to a number of corrective actions, as well as felony convictions, meat recalls, and even a $500 million civil settlement.

How ironic then that agribusiness interests in seven states (Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, and Utah) have now enacted “ag-gag” laws imposing severe penalties for using body cameras in their agricultural facilities. The language is typically drafted by the anti-consumer American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

Let’s hope that other vested interests not impose similar restrictions on the use of body cameras by law enforcement officers.

Billy Templeton

Barre, VT

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