BOSTON (CBS/AP) — At a hearing Tuesday afternoon on the delayed Boston Police body camera program, BPD Commissioner William Evans said he felt he had the authority to assign 100 officers to wear the cameras after no one volunteered.
The Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association claims the city violated an agreement when the commissioner assigned those officers, and the union’s president called the timing of the program “horrible.”
A union lawyer said the injunction request sought to stop the city from implementing the program until the two sides could renegotiate.
The two sides had reached an agreement in July calling for 100 officers to volunteer to wear body cameras for six months, but the union’s lawyer said in court that officers weren’t given enough time or information to volunteer to wear the body cameras.
However, a Boston Police Department lawyer said the police union didn’t do enough to support the body cameras program.
Evans said he knew something was wrong when no officers volunteered for the program. “I had the feeling after having this out there from July 18 to July 29 then we extended it five days because we didn’t get any volunteers, that there was no way that anyone was going to volunteer,” Evans said.
Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association President Patrick Rose took the stand at the hearing, and said that he was never against the program.
“I wanted to make sure our members were represented in the bargaining process and I wanted to make sure that their rights were protected,” Rose said. “As a citizen of Boston I wanted to make sure we had a decent policy.”
He said that he did nothing to discourage officers from volunteering, and clarified that one officer actually did volunteer.
Activists have called for police body cameras since the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014.
Rose said the timing of Boston’s proposed body camera program was “horrible,” as it followed the killings of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge.
But Evans said that incidents involving officers around the country were precisely the reason he didn’t want to delay in assigning the cameras to officers.
The hearing will continue at 9 a.m. Wednesday.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Doug Cope Reports
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