CAJE wants YOUR VOICE to be a part of this signature initiative.
As the Boston Globe reported back in August, Lowell is being considered for a large-scale trial of police body cameras. According to the linked article, police superintendent William Taylor is “optimistic it will be implemented,” which would make Lowell the largest city in the Commonwealth to test out a camera system – something many activists believe may be a good first step towards increased accountability for law enforcement across the board.
So…why sign a petition for body cams if it’s already looking like a done deal?
Great question! As with everything else, the devil is in the details – and, of course, we’re demanding much more than the simple presence of cameras. Here’s what you need to know:
- City officials have promised a public forum on this issue. So far, no forum has been scheduled. Signing your name ensures that our voices get heard and that everyone gets a public opportunity to discuss the need for police accountability.
- This trial is sponsored by TASER International. Yes, that TASER. The company that sells miniature electrocution devices to police departments across the country. They are interested in selling a product, and they know police departments are only going to be buying their cameras if it’s in their interest to do so – and cops want cameras to placate the public without actually restricting their normal behavior. The interests of TASER and the Lowell Police Department are not our interests, and we need to make that clear.
- The proposed trial is only for 30 days. We demand permanent implementation of cameras.
- We need to set the ground rules. As the article above explains, the police union is already asserting the right to determine when and how cameras can be turned off manually and who will control the video footage. We demand the cameras stay on and that the public controls the footage, which must be secured independently, outside the direct control of the LPD.
- Body cams are a step forward, not a solution. This is where increased accountability for city police starts, not where it ends. Police brutality is a real problem – not just someplace else or in America generally but right here, in Lowell, today. Don’t kid yourselves – less than half of the instances of police brutality in this city even get reported, much less investigated. If our community is to have a say in law enforcement transparency in the future, we have to start here and we have to start now.
It takes three seconds. Don’t delay. Pop over to cajelowell.org and sign NOW.