A fatal police shooting in Charlotte, North Carolina offers important lessons for Hawaii just a few months before the 2017 legislative session, when lawmakers are again expected to consider establishing a statewide policy for police body cameras along with funding for county programs.

Outrage over the shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott continues to spill over one week after he was shot dead by an officer with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.

For days, police have argued emphatically that officers were justified in shooting Scott because he had a gun and they felt threatened. But two police videos released over the weekend show no clear evidence that Scott was armed. One missed potentially important evidence because the body camera wasn’t turned on when it should have been, according to department rules.

Here’s why Hawaii authorities should be paying attention:

The other recording device, a dashboard camera, shows Scott exiting his truck, his arms at his sides, when he is shot. Again, there was no conclusive evidence that he was armed.

A third video released before the police footage was made public was taken by Scott’s wife. She can be heard imploring officers not to shoot him, telling them he was unarmed, had suffered a traumatic brain injury and had just taken his medications. Scott is not seen with a gun in that one, either, and no weapon appears on the ground as police stand over him.

Used appropriately, a body camera might have brought desperately needed clarity to this matter. The officer wearing the device should have activated it upon arriving at the scene. Instead, he didn’t do so until after shots were fired, and the critical first 30 seconds recorded by his camera has no audio (the continuously running cameras retroactively save the first 30 seconds after being manually activated, but without sound).

A painful irony in all this is that Charlotte is North Carolina’s first big city to purchase body cameras for all of its patrol officers. As The Washington Post reported Monday, Charlotte spent $7 million last year to purchase nearly 1,400 units, plus 15 more specifically for K9 officers.

In June the city adopted a policy that directs an officer responding to a scene in which a suspicious person is involved or as part of “voluntary investigative conduct” to activate his or her camera “prior to or in anticipation of” interactions with civilians at the scene.

We’ve argued that body cameras ought to roll and record everything while an officer is on the street, with policy guiding what footage should be kept and what should be discarded as appropriate. That would be far superior to a system that requires manual activiation.

In Charlotte, the old-fashioned dashboard camera ended up providing more valuable information than the body camera.

The case shows how great the opportunities are, yet how little room for error there is in the inevitable and necessary use of body cameras throughout Hawaii.

Despite body camera programs moving forward in various stages on Maui, Kauai, Hawaii Island and Oahu, the state this year continued to resist adopting a uniform body camera policy.

Senate Bill 2411 was the latest effort to address that. It would have established “requirements, restrictions, and implementation timelines for body-worn cameras and vehicle cameras for county police departments” and funds to partially pay for the devices, subject to a dollar-for-dollar match by each county.

It passed the Senate and House in different forms before being deferred in the final hours of the session.

The effort is certain to resume in January. Lawmakers must make 2017 the year in which the bill is passed and sent to Gov. David Ige for signature. It holds enormous promise for Hawaii, not just to defend citizens against police misconduct, but to protect police against unfair or untrue allegations.

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