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GOP senator: Body cameras would tell us ‘exactly what happened’ to Freddie Gray

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Republican Sen. Tim Scott (S.C) is pushing for cop-worn body cameras, saying they would have shed light on the death of Freddie Gray, a black man who suffered fatal injuries in Baltimore police custody.

“If you had six officers with six different police cameras, six different angles, we would know exactly what happened, as much as possible,” Scott said Wednesday on CNN’s “New Day.”

{mosads}“We should always have as much evidence from the scene as possible. Body cameras provide us with the opportunity to gather that information real time and to store it and use it in criminal investigations. I think today, we’d have a different outcome.”

Scott added that body cameras could have significant effects on policing, citing a study from Rialto, Calif., that showed a 90 percent drop in complaints against officers and a 60 percent drop in use of force incidents.

Gray, a 25-year old man, suffered a severe spinal injury in police custody, dying shortly after. It is unclear how that injury was sustained. While some surveillance video has emerged, it does not show the initial altercation with officers.

Gray’s death sparked widespread protests in Baltimore, as well as some violent riots on Monday night that left 20 officers injured and significant damage in West Baltimore.

The Baltimore City Council passed a bill last fall to require cameras for officers, but Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake vetoed it over funding concerns and questions about whether the council could force those changes. Rawlings-Blake does support body cameras and pledged that she’d provide a program to equip them by years end, according to The Baltimore Sun.

“I’m sure they are going to figure out how to get body cameras faster than ever before,” Scott said about Baltimore. He noted that North Charleston, in his home state of South Carolina, rapidly introduced body cameras after an officer shot and killed an unarmed black man during a traffic stop. The incident was caught on tape by a bystander.

“What I hope happens is that we have a national conversation, because this is not simply Ferguson, North Charleston and or Baltimore,” he said citing cities where black men have been killed after encounters with law enforcement. 

“This should be a conversation nationwide about how to make sure our law enforcement officers, vast majority of them are doing their jobs with the highest level of integrity, are safe. And that those bad apples, that are not doing their jobs right, are caught.”

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