An online petition created five days ago in response to Michael Brown’s death has surpassed the number of signatures required for an official response from the White House.
A petition posted to We the People, a section of whitehouse.gov, calling for a “Mike Brown law” accrued 125,870 signatures by Tuesday night. The White House typically writes a response for petitions that garner more than 100,000 signatures.
Signatories called for legislation that would require law enforcement across the country to wear a camera to record officer activities. The petition states:
Due to the latest accounts of deadly encounters with police, We the People, petition for the Mike Brown Law. Create a bill, sign into law, and set aside funds to require all state, county, and local police, to wear a camera. The law shall be made in an effort to not only detour [sic] police misconduct (i.e. brutality, profiling, abuse of power), but to ensure that all police are following procedure, and to remove all question, from normally questionable police encounters. As well, as help to hold all parties within a police investigation, accountable for their actions.
Brown, 18, was shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Mo., on Aug. 9. The details surrounding the shooting are in dispute; police say Brown assaulted Wilson, while witness reports say Brown died with his hands up in the air, shouting to the officer that he was unarmed.
Similar petitions have cropped up around the Internet since the shooting. A Change.org campaign to “require Ferguson and St. Louis county and city police officers to wear body cameras” has received 45,302 signatures since its creation last week.
A response from the White House to the “Mike Brown law” petition does not mean any legislative action will be taken. But the shooting has prompted the Ferguson Police Department to review its policies. The department said in a statement Tuesday that it will raise money to “secure dash and vest cams for our patrol cars.” The term “dash” likely refers to dashboard cameras, and “vest” suggests that officers may wear cameras on their person.
It’s not clear how many police departments across the country require their officers to use cameras while on patrol, The Wall Street Journal‘s Christopher Mims reports. But in Rialto, Calif., the use of body-mounted cameras the size of pagers reduced the use of force by officers by 60 percent in its first year. Citizen complaints against law enforcement dropped 80 percent.
The White House seldom responds to petitions that surpass 100,000 immediately. Before it gets to the Brown petition, the White House must first consider appeals to declare the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization, pardon Edward Snowden, and sanction China for recent clashes with Vietnam over a sunken ship in disputed waters.