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Rochester Lawmaker Says "No One Incident" Proves Need for Police Body Cameras

Rochester councilman Adam McFadden
Michelle Faust WXXI
Rochester councilman Adam McFadden

A Rochester official is offering his reaction to a video showing a South Carolina police officer fatally shooting an apparently unarmed black man.

Adam McFadden, head of Rochester City Council's public safety committee, says he watched the video a half dozen times.

"It's hard to watch anyone being killed in front of your eyes, but I also see two human beings who both are at the end of their lives,” McFadden said. “What I mean by that is, you have one who has died and you have another who will probably be found guilty of murder, or at the very least, manslaughter."

McFadden believes the police officer in this case, who now faces a murder charge, could have avoided prosecution if a bystander had not recorded the incident.

But he said there is no single police-civilian confrontation that proves that body cameras should be worn by officers, because some videos showing excessive use of police force do not result in convictions.

"We clearly saw what happened in this case, but we've had cameras that have shown other things. We've had cameras show Rodney King; we've had cameras show Eric Garner and now we have a camera that shows this. It doesn't prove that we need cameras, because in the Rodney King case and in the Eric Garner case, those officers went away free."

McFadden expects Rochester City Council to hold public forums soon, as lawmakers develop a policy governing how body cameras should be used by city police.

Beth Adams joined WXXI as host of Morning Edition in 2012 after a more than two-decade radio career. She was the longtime host of the WHAM Morning News in Rochester. Her career also took her from radio stations in Elmira, New York, to Miami, Florida.