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Baltimore Police Commissioner Eyes Body Cameras For Officers

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Shock and outrage from City Hall all the way down to the police department after an officer was caught on surveillance camera beating up a citizen. The controversial video now has the mayor and police commissioner calling for a new addition to police uniforms.

Rochelle Ritchie has more.

The police commissioner is not holding back, saying the video is unacceptable and disgusting and it's time for his officers to have body cameras on their person to hold cops---and citizens---accountable and keep them safe.

The video has Baltimore City's top cop outraged after one of his officers was caught punching a man with a closed fist almost 10 times.

"Nothing that I saw on that video is defensible. Nor should it be defensible and, most importantly, it's unacceptable," said Police Commissioner Anthony Batts.

He's fed up and now wants body cameras on all of his officers.

"I have had sergeants with my organization reviewing this process and it may be a good opportunity for us to look forward down the road at cost factors to bring body cameras on board," said Batts.

And he has the support of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

"We want to make it more difficult for this to happen. We want to provide the right training but also provide the right tools for if it happens again," she said.

The June 15 beatdown caught on police surveillance shows six-year veteran Officer Vincent Cosom and Kolling Truss in a verbal argument right before crossing the street, where you see the officer walk around the bus shelter and deliver a knockout punch right in Cosom's face.

While body cameras seem like a win-win for police officers and citizens, some wonder if those cameras will be an invasion of privacy.

"You put cameras on cops, what's next? Cameras on doctors? Cameras on teachers?" said Bob Cherry, president of the Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police.

Cherry says the body cameras are proving successful in decreasing complaints but some departments are also getting rid of them because of problems in court.

"The jury's wanted to see nothing but the camera and if it wasn't on camera, they didn't want any testimony from the officer or detectives, so they were dismissing cases," Cherry said.

But the commissioner is no stranger to their use. He used them as chief in California and stands ready to do it again.

"This conduct has no place in American no placing, no place in Baltimore's police department," he said.

The officer seen in that video is now suspended. The other officers at the scene could also be disciplined. Those officers have been identified as Officer Dominic Gerber and Officer Christopher Dunlap.

The Laurel police department is already using body cameras. They were purchased for $2,000 each.

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