Brazil Experiments with Body Cams to Reduce Deaths by Police

brazil police body cameraSAO PAULO (AP) — For years, Carlos Minc, a Rio de Janeiro state lawmaker, pushed to make body cameras mandatory in all law enforcement agencies. And for years, his proposal languished in Rio’s legislature.

Then came the city’s deadliest police operation. On May 6, hundreds of police with armored vehicles stormed the working-class Jacarezinho neighborhood at dawn, ostensibly to capture suspected criminals. Instead, they left behind 28 corpses, all of them local residents.

Even in a city used to violent policing, the episode was stunning. Minc says the bloodshed helped muster support to pass the bill just days later.

The state has accepted tender for 22,000 cameras, though it’s not yet clear when officers in Rio will start to use them.

But Brazil’s most populous state, Sao Paulo, has already begun experimenting with body cams. Early, limited data has offered some hints that they might reduce violence by police, despite mixed findings in other countries that have used them.  More »