President Obama announced this week that, in response to Ferguson and other cases of cops killing unarmed black men, the White House would call for $75 million to make 50,000 body cameras available to police departments across the country.
But on Wednesday, a grand jury declined to indict New York police officers in the choking death of Eric Garner -- a case in which there was footage. And the timing couldn't really be worse for the White House.
One activist who attended a White House meeting with Obama on Monday and talked with NBC News suggested that cameras weren't exactly a cure-all:
Antoine White, a hip-hop artist from St. Louis who is known as T-Dubb-O, said of body cameras during an interview, "I still consider it a Band-Aid" on a much larger problem. "Giving a policeman a camera does not prevent him from shooting me in the head," he said, noting officers at times don't turn on the cameras.
Proponents of expanding the use of body cameras point to Rialto, Calif., where complaints against police officers fell by 88 percent a year after they were put into use in 2012. And more than anything, the use of technology to prevent more Fergusons has been something plenty of people with very different views of what happened could agree upon.
And it's really only a matter of time. Jim Buerrmann, president of the Police Foundation in Washington, told the Post that, "Within the next five years or so, body-worn cameras will be as ubiquitous in the world of policing as handcuffs, the police radio, the gun."
The use of body cameras by police officers could certainly make them police themselves more and have the same effect on people they interact with. But they don't seem to have increased the chances of discipline when it comes to Garner, whose death was ruled a homicide.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) said that he plans to request federal funding for body cameras. It's unclear whether Obama, who has made the most high-profile push for body cameras, will get congressional support for his proposal.
But the videotaped death of Garner and the failure to get an indictment will likely be used by activists to push for much more than just cameras.