FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
November 16, 2018
Benjamin Fritsch (Norton): 202-225-8050
Aaron Fritschner (Beyer): 202-225-4376
Norton, Beyer Introduce Bill to Require Uniformed Federal Police Officers to Wear Body Cameras, Use Dashboard Cameras
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) and Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA) today introduced a bill to require uniformed federal police officers to wear body cameras and have dashboard cameras in marked vehicles. Norton and Beyer introduced their bill just before the one-year anniversary of the November 17, 2017, shooting of unarmed 25-year-old Bijan Ghaisar by U.S. Park Police officers.
Ghaisar was fatally shot in his car by Park Police in Fairfax County, Virginia, after he fled a car crash and was pursued by officers down George Washington Parkway. Footage of the shooting was released by the Fairfax County Police Department, which captured it on a cruiser’s dashboard camera. Without that footage, Ghaisar’s family and the public would have had no access to the circumstances surrounding Ghaisar’s death. The District of Columbia and Fairfax County both require officers to wear body cameras and have dashboard cameras in marked vehicles. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has been investigating the shooting for almost a full year, yet has released no information publicly.
“Federal police are late in requiring body cameras and dashboard cameras, which help ensure transparency, protect the public and officers alike and hold bad actors accountable,” said Norton. “The federal government should follow the lead of state and local law enforcement departments across the nation, including D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department, that have implemented these best policing practices. The Ghaisars have experienced a tragedy with no access to information, and would still be left completely in the dark if it were not for the Fairfax County Police Department. We owe it to the Ghaisars to do everything we can to ensure other families are not similarly left in the dark.”
“This legislation would make long-overdue changes to bring federal police in line with other law enforcement agencies in the area of transparency,” said Beyer. “The still-unexplained killing of Bijan Ghaisar shows how important it is to make these reforms, which will benefit victims, officers, and the communities they serve. No family should have to endure what the Ghaisars have gone through over the past year, and this bill would help prevent that from happening again.”