ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – A noisy crowd demanding police body cameras got what it wanted, as the Mayor, Comptroller and President of the Board of Aldermen passed a plan to move in that direction.
Related story: Reed Pushes for Police Body Cameras
The meeting of the Board of Estimate and Apportionment turned raucous, a standing room only crowd shouting and interrupting politicians–and then the politicians turned on each other.
Comptroller Darlene Green accused Lewis Reed of “grandstanding,” and of having a “campaign connection” to the body camera firm offering the one-year deal. Reed denied that and kept repeating his call for action today.
The crowd cheered him on, and taunted the other two members to agree, and one point chanting, “Lyda Krewson vote yes, Lyda Krewson vote yes.”
Krewson objected to the suddenness of the proposal at first, saying she had been given the paperwork by Reed’s team earlier in the day.
But the crowd would not let up, speaker after speaker, in what was not supposed to be a public hearing, urging her to do something today.
Green also objected at first, also cited the rushed nature of the proposal, and saying she didn’t just want to do an “ok-doke,” but rather wanted a long-term solution.
Green got Reed to agree to adding an amendment that the city would find a funding source to pay for body cameras by the end of the year.
The money at stake is about $1.2 million, Reed said.
The crowd was jubilant after the final passage.
Mayor Krewson whooshed out the door and down the hall to her office, chased by a school of reporters to whom she declined to comment.
Reed bathed in the glow of TV cameras, admitting that “without the crowd it wouldn’t have passed.”
Green walked up to a couple of police officers in the hallway afterward and told them, “it looks like you’re going to get body cameras.”
Their response, if any, could not be heard, but they shortly walked away. The police union in the past has opposed body cameras, saying it has a contractual right to oppose them.
The current police contract is under negotiation, and body cameras are certainly now to become a bigger part of the discussion.