Canadian PM pushes for police to use body cams

By: AFP      Published: 01:20 AM, 9 Jun, 2020
Canadian PM pushes for police to use body cams
–File photo

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday he supports the use of police body cameras in Canada to ensure "transparency" from officers and hopefully curb brutality and racial bias.

He said he has discussed the matter with Royal Canadian Mounted Police commissioner Brenda Lucki, and planned to raise it with provincial leaders who have jurisdiction over regional police forces.

"With the many disturbing reports of violence against black Canadians and indigenous people, we know that we need to do much more, and we need to do it now," Trudeau told a news conference.

Having police wear body cameras would be "a significant step towards transparency and we're going to work on that this week," Trudeau said.

"It is something that is, in my opinion, what we need to move forward with."

Body cams are used to document police interactions with the public and gather evidence at crime scenes. Proponents of their use say they provide increased transparency in policing.

Thousands of Canadians in recent days have marched in solidarity with US protesters against racism and police brutality, following the death in police custody of a black man in Minneapolis.

Trudeau himself took a knee on Friday at a demonstration outside his office in Ottawa.

He pushed back at critics who said protesting did not adhere to public health guidelines about social distancing during the pandemic, saying he sought to "balance very important competing interests."

"As best I could, I followed social distancing measures and wore a mask," he said.

"But for me, it was important that I be there."