Rahsaan Hall, director of the Racial Justice Program at the ACLU of Massachusetts, today released the following statement in response to an announcement that the City of Boston will officially begin phasing in a police body camera program, starting with up to 400 new cameras:

“The ACLU of Massachusetts, in cooperation with community partners like the Boston Police Camera Action Team, has long advocated for the implementation of a body-worn camera program that centers privacy and civil rights. We are cautiously optimistic to see that the City of Boston has officially committed to a body camera program. Used correctly, with the right policies in place, body-worn cameras can advance civil rights and help to build community trust. Crucially, body-worn cameras should not be used as a surveillance device to track or monitor people exercising their First Amendment rights, or include technologies like built-in face surveillance capabilities. It’s critical, also, that the Boston Police Department implement a strict prohibition against officers reviewing body-worn camera footage before writing incident reports or giving testimony. We look forward to working with the City and community advocates to ensure the BPD’s body-worn camera policy and operational procedures set the City up for a program that functions as a check and balance on police power, not yet another tool of warrantless government spying.”

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