By Ali Gatlin, Alexandria
The massive public reaction to the tragic deaths of three black teens at the hands of white police officers has led to a national call for use of body cameras to record and prevent any future mistreatment of suspects.
There is ample precedent. Animal protection activists have used body cameras to document egregious atrocities and safety violations by workers in the meat, dairy, and egg industries. The resulting videos have led to a number of corrective actions as well as felony convictions, meat recalls and even a $500 million civil settlement.
How ironic then that agribusiness interests in seven states (Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, and Utah) have now enacted “ag-gag” laws imposing severe penalties for using body cameras in their agricultural facilities. The language typically is drafted by the anti-consumer American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
Let’s hope that other vested interests do not impose similar restrictions on the use of body cameras by law enforcement officers.