Special to the Telegram Newspaper
Detroit, MI – On Saturday, April 11th Michigan State Representative Rose Mary C. Robinson (Detroit District 4 - Democrat) met with downriver and Detroit residents at a meeting located at 2323 S. Fort Street hosted by the Truth, Trust and Transparency Project (Triple T Project) , a group which supports putting body cameras on police officers.
Rep. Rose Mary C. Robinson discussed the introduction of the “Law Enforcement Body-Worn Camera Act” (House Bill 4229), a bi-partisan bill introduced last legislative session by term-limited Republican State Representative Tom McMillan. The legislation would mandate body cameras be placed on every police officer in Michigan.
Participants in the discussion included retired law enforcement officer Tyrone Carter of Detroit, Vicki Dobbins of River Rouge, Detroit School Board Member Tawanna Simpson, Octavia Brown and Orelia Brown of the 14th Congressional District Democratic Party, and Detroit resident Donald Trice. Attorney Isaac Robinson and Elisa Grubbs of the Truth, Trust and Transparency Project facilitated the meeting.
“Putting body cameras on police is a win-win situation for police and citizens. It protects citizens from police abuse and protects police from false accusations,” said Representative Rose Mary C. Robinson, a Detroit resident for over 50 years who has been active in the fight against police misconduct in Detroit since the 1960s . “We are talking about individual freedom and civil rights. People should be free from excessive police tactics in their day to day activities.”
Southwest Detroit resident Tyrone Carter was a guest speaker at the Triple T Project meeting in Detroit’s 48217. Carter shared, “Mr. Walter Scott would still be alive if there was a little camera on the lapel of the South Carolina officer.” Carter believes body cameras will have a positive impact for all parties involved including law enforcement officers. He shared FBI data that says body cameras are useful. He added, “officers will be able to more easily defend themselves against frivolous allegations. Municipalities will also save money with less litigation.”
Vicki Dobbins of River Rouge believes passage of this bill is also about support for personal freedom. “There are certain communities where African Americans are afraid to drive in. With the cams, at the least we will be comforted to know that our interaction with police officers are being recorded.”
Requires uniformed law enforcement officers to wear a continuously-activated body camera while on duty
Protects the rights of privacy of the person recorded
Prohibits agencies from using facial recognition programs with the captured images without a warrant
Specifies legal presumptions that would apply when images from a camera are not available
Despite the recent tragedy in South Carolina and excessive force incident in Inkster, Michigan State Representative, Kurt Heise, Chair of the Criminal Justice Committee (Republican Northville –District 20) has not scheduled a hearing
“As we look for ways to respond to this national crisis, it is important that we have a hearing on this legislation so that we can discuss solutions. Michigan should take the lead on protecting civil liberties and freedom. We should be the first state out of the gate to mandate the body camera safeguard. It will build trust and make things better.” said Attorney Isaac Robinson, Co-Founder of the Triple T Project.
The Triple T Project is urging residents to contact Michigan Republican Representative Kurt Heise, Chair of the Criminal Justice Committee, to hold a hearing on HB 4229.
Elisa Grubbs, Director of Field Action for the Michigan Triple T Project, told the Telegram, “We need to send a strong message that lives matter and relieving tensions is a priority. No More Dents. No more South Carolinas. President Barack Obama’s task force is calling for more body cameras. Mayor Mike Duggan has rolled out pilot programs. Leaders in law enforcement believe body cams will be instrumental in restoring the public trust. We need a hearing on HB 4229. Right now no debate is being allowed on this important piece of legislation.”
The Western Wayne NAACP discussed House Bill 4229 on Monday April 13 at their monthly membership meeting. The membership voted to send a letter asking the State Conference of the Michigan NAACP to consider support for house bill 4229. The Western Wayne County NAACP chapter has a long history of fighting police brutality. Past Presidents of the branch Bishop Earl Truss, Rev. George Williams and Lucille Flint were all present and supported the motion asking the State NAACP to take action on the body camera mandate legislation. Western Wayne NAACP President Bishop Walter L. Starghill and the chapter’s legal redress committee will send a letter later this week to Yvonne White, Michigan NAACP State Conference President.
State Representative Rose Mary Robinson, the primary sponsor of house bill 4229, is serving her second term representing Michigan’s 4th House District, which comprises Hamtramck and portions of Detroit. A member of the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame, Robinson was the first woman ever elected to the Wayne County Commission in 1970. Before being elected to the Michigan House of Representatives, Robinson also served as a member of the Detroit Charter Revision Commission in 2009. Robinson holds a law degree from Wayne State Law School.
Robinson serves as the minority vice chair of the House Oversight and Ethics Committee and also serves on the House Judiciary Committee. She is a member of the Michigan Law Revision Commission.