In the wake of the killing of an unarmed teenager by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., concerned citizens of the St Louis suburb will be donning cameras in a bid to prevent future abuses of power.
A California-based group called “We Copwatch” has raised more than $6,000 to buy video equipment for people in the Canfield Green Apartments, which are near the spot where Michael Brown was killed by Ferguson officer Darren Wilson in August, KDSK reports.
In addition to handing out the cameras, We Copwatch is partnering with community group the Canfield Watchman to teach classes about observers’ civil rights and how to effectively and lawfully monitor the police. Certain Ferguson police officers began wearing body cameras in early September.
“We knew the Ferguson police department was equipping themselves with 50 body cameras,” the organization’s co-founder Jacob Crawford said. “So we thought it best to equip this neighborhood with 110 body cameras.”
The program has already garnered the approval of Ferguson police chief Tom Jackson.
“Just the idea of private citizens filming the police doing their jobs, I don’t see anything wrong with that. As a matter of fact, it happens all the time” Jackson said. “We also have cameras now that we use to film our interactions with the public.”
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