Judge Rules Boston Police Body Camera Program Can Go Forward

BOSTON (CBS) – A Superior Court judge ruled that the Boston Police Department’s body camera program can move forward, denying a request by the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association.

Suffolk Superior Judge Douglas Wilkins announced his ruling on Friday.

The BPPA had claimed it was a breach of agreement to force officers in the city to wear body cameras.

Boston Police Commissioner William Evans previously announced that up to 100 officers would be assigned to wear the cameras after no one volunteered to take part in a 6-month pilot program.

“I am pleased with the Court’s decision to allow the pilot program to move forward. I remain committed to working with the BPPA and their members to ensure a smooth implementation of the program,” Evans said in a statement.

“It is my honor to serve as commissioner of one of the best police departments in the country and I commend the work being done every day by my officers. It is their continued efforts that make the Boston Police Department a national model for community policing.”

In his ruling, Wilkins wrote that the BPPA “influenced” members with a strong position that nobody should volunteer for the body camera program.

“The Commissioner’s Statute encompasses at least some decisions by the Commissioner to convert an assignment from voluntary to mandatory status,” Wilkins said in his ruling.

BPPA President Pat Rose released a statement following the ruling.

I am disappointed in the court’s ruling. But I still believe asking for the injunction was the right thing to do. If we don’t fight to preserve our collective bargaining rights, we could lose those rights. If we don’t challenge the city when they violate signed agreements, then how can we enforce agreements in the future? Let me say this though: Injunction or no injunction, the BPPA is still committed to working with the city and the department to make sure the citizens of Boston get a body-worn camera pilot program that does what it is supposed to do, while respecting the rights of citizens and police officers alike.

On Thursday, Evans said that members of the department’s command staff have volunteered to wear the cameras.

Segun Idowu of the Boston Police Camera Action Team was pleased by the judge’s ruling.

“Some tool that provides accountability and transparency is of the utmost importance in order to restore, or really create, trust between my particular community, and other communities of color, and the police force that protects us night and day,” Idowu said.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Karyn Regal reports

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