Bill introduced requiring body cameras, dash cams for uniformed federal police officers
Two House Democrats have introduced a bill that would require uniformed federal police officers to wear body cameras and mandating dashboard cameras in marked vehicles, seeking transparency as questions linger one year since U.S. Park Police fatally shot a motorist in northern Virginia.
Introduced on the eve of Saturday’s anniversary of the shooting that killed Bijan Ghaisar, 25, the bill was offered after the Fairfax County Police Department, not the U.S. Park Police, captured the only known video footage of the incident that ultimately ended in his death.
“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 the bill’s author, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, a nonvoting member of Congress representing Washington, D.C.
“We owe it to the Ghaisars to do everything we can to ensure other families are not similarly left in the dark,” said Ms. Norton, a Democrat.
Co-sponsored by Rep. Don Beyer, Virginia Democrat, the bill would apply to the dozens of federal law enforcement agencies operating around the nation’s capital, including the U.S. Park Police, implementing policies similar to those already in place by D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department, among others.
“This legislation would make long-overdue changes to bring federal police in line with other law enforcement agencies in the area of transparency,” Mr. Beyer said in a statement.
Ghaisar died 10 days after a shooting that followed a pursuit that started on the George Washington Memorial Parkway in northern Virginia. His family said that he was unarmed when two U.S. Park Police officers fired on him at the chase’s conclusion, and that they were initially unaware of the law enforcement agency’s involvement.
“While nothing can bring Bijan back and truly bring justice to his family, friends and community, knowing that his life was responsible for this crucial reform would at least be some solace,” said Roy L. Austin Jr., a lawyer for the Ghaisar family, The Washington Post reported.
The FBI is investigating the shooting. No charges have been announced, and U.S. Park Police has not identified the officers involved.