Don Beyer offers body camera amendment to Interior Appropriations bill

Don BeyerRep. Don Beyer introduced an appropriations amendment which would fund the body camera pilot program for Department of the Interior law enforcement officers. Without such funding the pilot program faces a potential lapse in FY19.

“No one can undo Bijan Ghaisar’s tragic death, but this amendment can help with transparency going forward,” said Rep. Beyer. “While we are still awaiting answers in Bijan’s case, we know that our local community and Interior’s law enforcement officers want Interior to join the modern policing age and ensure its uniformed law enforcement officers have body cameras. This amendment will give the Department the funding it needs to help make this a reality.”

Rep. Beyer’s longstanding support for law enforcement body and vehicle cameras took on new urgency on November 17th, 2017, when his constituent Bijan Ghaisar was shot multiple times by National Park Police. Ghaisar died days later. His killing is still unexplained, and the FBI investigation continues with no clear end in sight. Interior is currently paying for the pilot program out of unobligated funding for FY18 and has not made it a funding priority in FY19.

The Department of the Interior’s Office of the Inspector General issued a report earlier this year titled, “U.S. Department of the Interior Law Enforcement’s Body Camera Policy and Practices Are Not Consistent With Industry Standards.”

Text of the amendment, which was offered with Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), is available here.

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