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Black Lives Matter, Ministers Oppose NYPD Body Cameras Bidder

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A public battle Thursday to outfit the NYPD with body cameras has community leaders opposing the low bidder.

CBS2's Marcia Kramer reports Black Lives Matter protesters turned up outside a hearing on an NYPD contract for body cameras. While they think body cameras are good, they took the odd position that the low bidder, a company called Vievu, was bad. Local ministers also joined the protesters.

"The body camera is going to protect the community, it's going to protect the reputation of those police officers. We need to make sure we have the very best," said Michael Faulkner, pastor of the New Horizon Church Harlem. "The last thing in the world we want to do is question what the cameras or the recorders have to say."

"I'm favoring Taser, actually. I think that because you can see more and it's more descriptive," said Brooklyn Pastor Damon Cabbagestalk Jr.

Cabbagestalk admitted he hasn't seen either camera's output and he also claimed Taser had nothing to do with his testimony.

However, Taser is trying to mobilize the community to get the NYPD to reconsider the $6.4 million contract for 5,000 cameras given to Vievu.

Taser stock fell precipitously after it lost the bid. Taser said the NYPD should field test 1,000 cameras from each company before the final contract is signed. Taser's bid was reportedly two-thirds more than Vievu's.

Vievu claims its system is just as good and a whole lot cheaper.

Mayor Bill de Blasio took a dim view of the people opposing the contract.

"It's the competitor firm juicing this criticism to help their own bottom line," said de Blasio. "And some of the quote-unquote community leaders who have spoken up are also known to be people who are available for hire."

The mayor said he hopes to have 1,000 of the body cameras on the street by early next year.

De Blasio said that there was a lengthy bidding process and more than 50 companies submitted bids.

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