Jeremy Mardis, a 6-year-old boy with autism was shot dead by Louisiana State Police officers, Norris Greenhouse Jr. and Derrick Stafford last Tuesday. The two officers have been arrested on charges of second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder. The video footage and arrest has been attributed to police use of body cameras.
The body camera on a third officer who responded to a call for back up captured the shooting on video.
Louisiana State Police Superintendent, Col. Mike Edmonson told reporters during a press conference last Friday that the body cam footage “is partly why we’re here tonight with these charges.”
When asked how pivotal the video footage was in leading to the arrests, Col. Edmonson told CBS News, “I mean, as a father, much less head of the state police, I looked at that tape, I said this is incredibly disturbing.”
The officer initially reported that Chris Few, Jeremy Mardis’ father, who was driving the vehicle in which they were both shot, reversed the car at the officers and that there was an exchange of gunfire. Col. Edmonson stated that the car wasn’t reversed. The police car that was allegedly hit has minor damage. And no gun was found in Mr. Few’s car.
The officers fired 18 shots at the car Mr. Few was driving. Jeremy was shot five times in the head and chest and Mr. Few is in serious condition at Rapides Hospital in Alexandria, Louisiana.
Jeremy Mardis has become the youngest person to be killed by police officers in 2015. Col. Edmonson said that he died buckled to the front seat of the car.
Body camera usage has been spreading widely throughout police departments in the past few years. President Barack Obama proposed a plan to fund a 50 percent match to agencies to buy body cameras. According to the White House, the objective is to invest $75 million dollars in federal funding to help buy 50,000 body cameras for police usage.
Moreover, studies have repeatedly substantiated the argument that body cameras foster better policing practices. The Birmingham, Alabama police department found a 38 percent drop in use of force cases and a 71 percent drop in police complaints, since putting 319 body cameras in operation. Use of force dropped by more than 50 percent in the Orlando Police Department in Florida.
Atlantic City, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York City, and Washington D.C. are just a few of the cities that have its police officers equipped with body cameras.