News body cam 2

Marquis Jones, a 23-year-old African-American man, was shot in the back eight times by an SAPD officer, Robert Encina , following an incident outside a Chacho’s restaurant on February 28, 2014.

In response to these recurring instances of “deadly use of force” groups like MOVE San Antonio (a locally based grassroots progressive outfit focusing on youth involvement in politics) and SATX4 (a police accountability organization whose formation spurred from the acquittal of officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson Mo. last year) decided to show up to a “Citizens to be Heard” session hosted by the San Antonio City Council on Wednesday, September 2.

These weekly sessions give local residents the opportunity to speak in front of the council members, provided they register online beforehand.

Of the many issues raised during this past Wednesday’s hearing, this small, but adamant, cohort of citizens were there to discuss the allotment of 3 million dollars of municipal funds to initiate a police body camera pilot program in council districts 2 and 5.

The test program will allocate funding for 1,537 cameras in total that officers patrolling those districts will wear on their uniforms.

Among those to take to the podium was Celeste Brown, the Field and Programs manager of MOVE San Antonio and UTSA alumna.

Brown opened by saying, “We are grateful that body cameras are coming into effect. But we hope for more. This is only the first step in regards to transparency.”

Further emphasizing a need for transparency between government and the public, Brown explains, “There isn’t much information available in the news about this. This is a great program for districts 2 and 5, but Marquis Jones was killed in district 10.”

District 10 is not covered in this preliminary roll out of police body cameras.

Brown closed by saying, “We are thankful for body cameras and do support them, however, we do hope that more comes.”

“Citizens to be Heard” sessions occur every Wednesday at San Antonio City Council starting at 6p.m. To reserve podium time, visit sanantonio.gov before the start of the meeting and register for a slot.

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