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Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence

Representing the 14th District of Michigan

U.S. Rep. Lawrence Introduces New Police Accountability Bill to Increase Transparency and Training through Body-Worn Cameras

April 28, 2022
Press Release
Bill introduction follows video release of deadly shooting of Patrick Lyoya, an unarmed Black man, by a police officer in Grand Rapids

Washington, DC - Today, U.S. Representative Brenda L. Lawrence, 2nd Vice Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, introduced the Officers Accountability Training and Honesty (OATH) Act of 2022. This new legislation creates a pilot program that makes funding available to local law enforcement departments to implement continuous improvement training opportunities for law enforcement utilizing body-worn camera (BWC) footage. While there is federal funding available for BWC equipment, departments lack the resources needed for personnel costs to review the footage on an on-going basis, to improve officer conduct and safety. Evidence suggests that one barrier to continuous quality improvement through use of BWCs is lack of monitoring or a structured system of accountability. The OATH Act aims to fix that. To read the bill text, click here. The bill's introduction comes after video was released of the deadly shooting of Patrick Lyoya, an unarmed Black man, by a police officer in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Rep. Lawrence attended and spoke at Patrick’s funeral last week.  

“While body-worn cameras are intended to be a tool for accountability, there have been too many instances where BWCs have been mishandled. And oftentimes, footage that is captured is reviewed only after an incident occurs. This creates uncertainty and doubt in the effectiveness of BWCs and erodes the trust between our law enforcement officers and the communities they serve and protect. We’re seeing those feelings grow, especially after the fatal shooting of Patrick Lyoya, an unarmed Black man, by a Grand Rapids’ police officer.

“Today, I’m introducing new legislation to increase transparency, remove uncertainty, and promote continuous training and review of BWCs. By providing the resources needed to ensure BWCs are being used responsibly, we can improve the safety and wellness of our law enforcement officers and community members. The OATH Act is a strong step toward accountability and rebuilding trust.”

The OATH Act is cosponsored by Reps. Joyce Beatty (OH-04), Earl Blumenaur (OR-3), Andre Carson (IN-07), Troy Carter (LA-2), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-02), Hank Johnson (GA-4), Eleanor Holmes Norton (Del-DC), Bill Pascrell (NJ-09), and Haley Stevens (MI-11).