In the turbulent year since Michael Brown’s death sparked protests in Ferguson, Mo., and beyond, politicians, law enforcement officials and community activists have seized on body cameras as a vital reform capable of restoring transparency and trust to police interactions with the public. But in Burlington and elsewhere around the country, police and other officials are routinely blocking the release of body camera videos while giving officers accused of wrongdoing special access to the footage.
Nationwide, police have shot and killed 760 people since January, according to a Washington Post database tracking every fatal shooting. Of those, The Post has found 49 incidents captured by body camera, or about 6 percent.
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Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma writer and a former civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She is a Managing Editor for OpEd News, and a regular contributor for a variety of Internet sites.