WHAT ABOUT POLICE BODY CAMERAS?

On May 1, the U.S. Department of Justice announced the Body-Worn Camera Pilot Partnership Program. The $20 million program which is part of President Obama’s proposal to invest $75 million over three years, will cover the cost of 50,000 body-worn cameras for officers across the nation. Grants will be awarded to agencies that meet the requirements, and South Carolina will be able to apply for funding.

Former North Charleston officer Michael Slager also wasn't wearing one when he pulled over and subsequently shot Walter Scott.

The ACLU maintains that good policies are crucial. We need to determine what may be wrong with police training and what must be done with record keeping to both protect privacy and increase public trust in law enforcement.

On Thursday, April 30, in an attempt to restore trust in law enforcement after the fatal shooting of Walter Scott by a North Charleston police officer, a state Senate panel  affirmed the right to record police activity in public and called for independent investigations of police shootings.

Read more about police body cameras and police practices.

 

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS WHEN ENCOUNTERING POLICE OR PROTESTING

The deaths of Walter Scott, Eric Garner and Michael Brown are part of an alarming trend of officers using excessive force against people of color, often during routine encounters. 

The ACLU will continue to fight for racial justice. To build trust, we must have a democratic system where our communities have an equal say in the way their neighborhoods are policed. Collaboration, transparency, and communication between police and communities around the shared goals of equality, fairness, and public safety pave the path forward. 

 

Legislators are not our doctors 

The 20-week abortion ban measure goes to the Senate floor this week (April 28-30). This bill, as approved by the Senate Medical Affairs Committee, will ban abortions after a woman is 20 weeks pregnant, with exceptions for rape, incest, the life of the mother and severe fetal anomalies.

“Look at us. We’re a bunch of men voting on what a woman would have to do with her own life,” Sen. Joel Lourie, a Columbia Democrat and an opponent of the bill, told the panel. “We’re a bunch of men sitting up here trying to tell a woman whether it’s right or not to terminate a pregnancy at 20 versus 24 weeks. We ought to be ashamed of ourselves that we’re going to impose our own value system and interfere with the relationship between a woman, her physician, her spiritual adviser and her family.”

Abortion is currently legal in South Carolina in the first two trimesters, or 24 weeks, of pregnancy. In the last trimester, it is only permitted to save the life or health of the mother.

Imposing one rule on every woman, regardless of the circumstances of her pregnancy, is extremely callous. A woman shouldn't be denied basic health care or the ability to make the best decision for her circumstances because some politicians disagree with her.

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