Activists want more inclusion in body camera discussion

Activists want more inclusion in body camera discussion

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Body cameras are still not rolling on the streets, and Memphis activists are demanding to have a say on police cameras. They said their voice is not being heard, and they want to be included in the decisions.

The city is still trying to figure out how video will be monitored and when it would be released to the public.

Advocates sent a letter to Memphis leaders and Senator Brian Kelsey asking for police accountability, transparency, and to be included in the process.

"It's really important for citizens to have a voice. Right now, we don't feel that we have a voice," community activist Tami Sawyer said.

The letter asks for the opinions of residents to be heard, not silenced.

"We hope a meeting will convene that will be public, that will be transparent," Earle Fisher said.

Fisher, who wrote the letter sent to Memphis leaders, said including the general public in the discussions on types of video footage is one way to ensure their voice is heard.

"Give the general public access to types of video footage that will be on the body cameras," Fisher said.

We have asked the city for dash cam video in the past year, but the city has only turned it over on a few occasions. Fisher believes the public deserves to know and see how police are interacting with residents.

"There needs to be people at the table when this type of legislation is being produced and published," Fisher said.

Sawyer questions the urgency of the city in getting the cameras on the ground and rolling.

"Cameras are on the ground in Chattanooga. If we really believe that we want to make this happen, why do we have only two cameras on the ground right now?" Sawyer asked.

Fisher is supporting some legislation that advocates for the release of body camera footage.

However, he wants to expand the bills to make sure community input is heard and police are held accountable.

"The public is not just satisfied with the bare minimum; we demand more," Fisher said.

We have reached out to the City of Memphis for a comment and have not heard back.

Senator Kelsey said he has not received the letter yet and as of now, has no comment.

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