ST. LOUIS (AP) — President Barack Obama called Monday for $75 million in federal spending to get 50,000 more police to wear body cameras that record their interactions with civilians.
The president made the announcement during a series of meetings with his Cabinet, civil rights leaders, law enforcement officials and others in the wake of a grand jury’s decision last week not to charge the white police officer who fatally shot unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was black.
Elsewhere, some Americans walked off the job or out of school in support of the Ferguson protests. Here’s a look at the latest developments in the case:
Obama proposed a three-year $263 million spending package to increase use of body cameras, expand training for law enforcement and add more resources for police reform. The package includes $75 million for the small, lapel-mounted cameras to record officers on the job.
The White House has said the cameras could help bridge deep mistrust between law enforcement and the public. It could also help resolve the types of disputes between police and witnesses that arose in the Ferguson shooting.
Brown’s family wants to see every police officer working the streets wearing a body camera.
However, Obama is not seeking to pull back federal programs that provide military-style equipment to local law enforcement. He had ordered a review of those programs after critics questioned why police in full body armor with armored trucks responded to dispel demonstrators.
As part of a national protest, people walked off their jobs or out of school holding their hands up in a show of solidarity with Ferguson protesters.
Monday’s walkouts stretched from New York to San Francisco, and included Chicago and Washington, D.C. At the University of Missouri-St. Louis, three dozen students rallied outside the library and walked out of class.
The protest came a day after five players for the St. Louis Rams entered the football field with their hands raised. The St. Louis Police Officers Association called for them to be disciplined and for the NFL to apologize.
An NFL spokesman said the league respects “the concerns of all individuals who have expressed views on this tragic situation.”
STATE COMMISSION MEETS
The Ferguson Commission appointed by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon met for the first time. The 16-person panel will study the underlying social and economic conditions — from failing schools to high unemployment— that have gained attention since Brown’s death.
The five-hour meeting was devoted primarily to organizational issues.
The panel includes a Ferguson construction-supply company owner, two pastors, a university professor, a community activist and a St. Louis police detective who is also president of the state chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police.
Brown was unarmed when he was killed by Wilson following an Aug. 9 confrontation on a Ferguson street.
The shooting stirred racial tensions and led to numerous protests in Ferguson, a predominantly black community patrolled by a mostly white police force. A grand jury was assembled to investigate the shooting, and its nine white and three black members spent three months hearing more than 70 hours of testimony from 60 witnesses. Their decision not to indict Wilson was announced Nov. 24, prompting violent protests and looting that resulted in at least a dozen commercial buildings being destroyed.
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