[JURIST] Self-defense products company TASER International Inc. [corporate website] on Friday announced that Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office will be receiving an order of cameras which will be worn by officers to record their actions in the field. Under the sales agreement, TASER will deliver 700 body cameras, costing an estimated $1 million. The sheriff’s office was required to begin using body cameras following US District Court Judge Murray Snow’s order [JURIST report] stemming from a 2007 racial profiling lawsuit brought on behalf of Latinos pulled over during traffic stops. Snow found that deputies had engaged in racial profiling and unreasonably detained drivers during operations. In a statement Arizona lawmaker Joe Arpaio stated [Reuters report] that the cameras “will be a welcomed addition to my office and our fight against crime.”
The use of racial profiling by law enforcement officials has been an ongoing topic of discussion in the US. Last year the UN Committee Against Torture [official website] urged the US [report, PDF] to open investigations into all cases of police brutality and excessive use of force by police officers [JURIST report]. The committee expressed concern over the use of force against certain people and the use of “racial profiling by police and immigration offices,” among other tactics used by law enforcement. In 2013 the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] accused [press release] governmental surveillance centers of invasion of privacy and reliance on racial and religious profiling in their Suspicious Activity Reports urging [letter, PDF] the centers to adopt stricter standards of reporting [JURIST report].