Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) has proposed legislation that would create new federal grants that states would use to ensure all interrogations by police are video recorded.
Her Custodial Interrogation Recording Act doesn't mention any specific incident as a motivating factor, but many members have proposed legislation in the last few weeks aimed at reining in the police in the wake of the shooting of an unarmed black student by police in Ferguson, Missouri, and the police response to the protests that followed. The trend of filming police in action during traffic stops and other encounters also seems to have picked up, partly as a result of the events in Ferguson.
St. Louis county police officers advance on protestors trying to shut down Interstate 70 in Berkeley, Mo. on Sept. 10, 2014 near the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Mo. where Michael Brown, an unarmed, black 18-year old was shot and killed by a white police officer on Aug. 9. A House Democrat has proposed a new bill requiring all police interrogations to be video recorded. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam)
The bill cited studies saying that video recording interrogations helps ensure the "fair administration of justice" and the protection of constitutional rights. It said recording them makes it "easier for the press, the judiciary, prosecutors, independent watchdog groups, and police administrators to identify and correct misuses of power by law enforcement."
"Video recordings of custodial interrogations make it easier to identify and avoid biases, which would otherwise be difficult to detect and correct because such biases are often unconscious, thus operating outside police awareness," the bill added.
The legislation amends the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act to set up a new grant program that would let the Attorney General send money to states to achieve "the complete and accurate recording, by both audio and video means, of every custodial interrogation." Grants could only fund up to 75 percent of these programs.
The bill doesn't set a specific spending limit, and instead says it would allow "such sums as may be necessary" to be spent. Read the bill here: