After years of police-misconduct complaints, the American Civil Liberties Union in St. Louis has launched a program to give free video cameras to some residents of high-crime neighborhoods to help them monitor police, reports the Associated Press. The ACLU began working on the project last year after television crews broadcast video of officers punching and kicking a suspect who led police on a car chase. “The idea here is to level the playing field, so it’s not just your word against the police’s word,” said the ACLU’s Brenda Jones.
The ACLU gave cameras and training to about 10 residents in north St. Louis, a high-crime, low-income part of the city that members said is plagued by police misconduct. The group hopes to expand the program to 50 to 100 residents. The program will include free workshops to teach residents about their rights when approached by police. Project organizers have worked closely with police to make sure they are aware of the program’s goals.