Crime & Justice

ACLU urges feds to not give LAPD funds for body cameras

LAPD Officer Guillermo Espinoza wears a video camera on his lapel. Espinoza is one of 30 officers in the downtown area that began testing body cameras this month.
LAPD Officer Guillermo Espinoza wears a video camera on his lapel. Espinoza is one of 30 officers in the downtown area that began testing body cameras this month.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC

The Los Angeles Police Department's effort to equip officers with body cameras has run up against an unlikely obstacle: the American Civil Liberties Union.

The ACLU of Southern California sent a letter Thursday to the U.S. Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Assistance, urging it to deny funding for the cameras until the LAPD revamps its camera policy.

The policy approved by the city Police Commission allows officers to review video before speaking to investigators and says nothing about releasing video to the public.

The LAPD plans to provide 7,000 officers with body cameras in the next couple years. It's the nation's largest law enforcement agency to move forward with such an ambitious plan.

The ACLU says it supports body cameras to improve transparency, accountability and trust, but the LAPD's policy undermines these goals.