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Ferguson: "With these cameras, we will have the ability to challenge the police narrative"

Ferguson residents use body cameras on police

A group called We Copwatch has donated 110 cameras for civilians to record cops

Ferguson, Missouri is still coping with the fallout after 18-year old Michael Brown was shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson. A county grand jury is still deliberating over whether or not a crime was even committed while Wilson remains free. Relations between the civilian population and the police soured, especially after the National Guard was called in to control protests over the shooting. Now, frustrated residents have started wearing body cameras to monitor the police.

California-based group We Copwatch raised more than $6,000 to equip Ferguson residents. This weekend, We Copwatch representatives teamed up with local activist group Canfield Watchmen to train people in how to use them. 

Canfield Watchmen spokesperson David Whitt told St Louis Post-Dispatch: "With these cameras, we will have the ability to challenge the police narrative."

Ferguson police chief Tom Jackson is unfazed by the news that residents will start filming officers. "They are entitled to do that, and we have instructed our officers not to interfere with that right,” Jackson said. “And really, many members of the public have already been (taking videos of police) with cameras in their phones.”

Police in Ferguson have been wearing body cameras for nearly a month now. But outfitting officers with cameras doesn't necessarily mean that the public has any access to the video – San Diego police department has denied requests for any body camera footage. 

"Ferguson police equipped themselves with 50 body cameras, so we thought it best to give people in this neighbourhood 110 body cameras," We Copwatch co-founder Jacob Crawford told KSDK News. "These are to be used for a non-violent observation of the police, where people go out with video cameras to document police when they stop members of their community."

As well as donating equipment, We Copwatch members also handed out pamphlets informing citizens of their rights when they are pulled over and stopped by the police.

Watch the activist group in action on the streets of Ferguson below: