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Fort Myers attorney calls on law enforcement to use more cameras

Posted at 9:31 AM, Jul 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-08 10:58:32-04

LEE COUNTY, Fla. -- Two police-involved shootings this week have caused a firestorm on social media, largely due to vivid bystander videos that have gone viral, showing exactly what happened between police and the suspects.

But while bystanders were using video in those instances, one local attorney says law enforcement agencies aren’t using it enough.

"It shouldn't have to be a private citizen or third party who has to video tape something like this," said Abizer Ghadiali, a practicing attorney in Fort Myers. He is calling on law enforcement agencies to use more video, "The police should have their own video cameras so if they're doing something right, if they're doing their job, there's no issues about it."

Four In Your Corner did some digging to see which Lee County agencies are using body and dash cams.

We found that 45% of Fort Myers Police officers wear body cameras and 75% of their marked patrol cars are equipped with dash cameras.

Cape Coral Police say about a quarter of their sworn officers wear body cams and 53% of their vehicles have dash cameras.

However, Lee County Sheriff’s Office does not use body cameras, and only 15 of their patrol units are equipped with dash cameras.

“This is 2016. We don't have to just rely on peoples words and words and words. We can actually substantiate that with better evidence - video evidence," said Ghadiali.

In an email statement, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office tells Fox4, "We have researched the idea of purchasing body cameras, however, we are not purchasing them at this time due to the excessively high cost."

"I cannot imagine that they can't find the budget to have video cameras on all their patrol cars and even body cameras on their officers that are out on the scene. It would provide so much more clarity in a situation," said Ghadiali.