South Carolina Enacts Mandatory Police Body Camera Law

| by Ethan Brown
Gov. Nikki Haley.Gov. Nikki Haley.

All law enforcement officers in South Carolina will now wear body cameras according to new legislation signed by the state’s governor on June 10. The legislation hopes to prevent incidents similar to the one that led to the death of Walter Scott.

The Body-Worn Cameras Worn By Law Enforcement Bill was signed by Gov. Nikki Haley on June 10, just six days after the state Assembly approved a final draft of the legislation.

According to WYFF, the new law will “require all state and local law enforcement officers to implement the use of body-worn cameras,” will “establish a body-warn camera fund,” and “make data recorded by a body-worn camera not subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.”

While the legislation did not bear his name, the idea of body-worn cameras spawned from an April 4 incident between a police officer and Walter Scott. Scott was shot to death in the back while running away from former North Charleston Patrolman First Class Michael Slager after Scott was stopped for a routine traffic stop.

After the incident, video surfaced showing Scott’s death; despite the video, Slager claimed he felt threatened by Scott after a physical altercation between the two that took place off camera.

Slager was charged with murder and indicted by a grand jury on June 8. He is currently being held in protective custody.

At the law’s signing, Scott’s family stood by Haley and later praised her swift work in creating and supporting a bill in two months.

“I’m sure my brother is looking down and saying: ‘Good job. Good job, South Carolina,’” Scott’s brother, Anthony, said about the law, reported The Associated Press.

Haley also commented on the situation, thanking the Scott family members for their character during the difficult time.

“Through all of this tragedy, through all of the pain they were going through, this family held themselves with such strength and grace,” the governor said.

Sources: WYFF4, The Associated Press via Savannah Now

Photo Credit: Official Portrait, Governor's Office