Palm Beach Post: Corey Jones-related body cameras bill heads to full Senate

TALLAHASSEE — A Senate committee Wednesday unanimously approved a bill inspired by Corey Jones that would require law-enforcement agencies to set policies if they use body cameras.

Jones, a 31-year-old musician, was shot six times by then-Palm Beach Gardens police officer Nouman Raja, who arrived at the scene in plain clothes driving an unmarked white van.

The bill (SB 418), sponsored by Sen. Chris Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale, was approved by the Fiscal Policy Committee and now is ready to go to the full Senate.

The bill would not require law-enforcement agencies to use body cameras but would require standards for those that decide to do so. The legislation has the support of the Florida Sheriffs Association, the Florida Police Chiefs Association and the Florida Police Benevolent Association.

A House version (HB 93), sponsored by Rep. Shevrin Jones, D-West Park, and Rep. Alan Williams, D-Tallahassee, also is ready to go to the full House.

Smith said the use of body cameras helps prevent finger-pointing in police incidents.

“It gives us an opportunity to see what cops encounter a lot of times,” Smith said. “When cops come up on people and they are belligerent and they are escalating, it can show that ‘Hey, this officer was just reacting to something that they came upon.’ But, it shows sometimes when officers are having a bad day and do bad things.”

 

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