[4:56 PM] Maya Backman Caption: Atlanta PD's Cop City clearing Body Cam Footage

An Atlanta Police Department officer's body cam footage during the operation to clear out protesters occupying the forest where the city plans a police and fire training facility is seen.

Credit: Atlanta Police Department via 11Alive

A new bill would require police to wear body cameras in Georgia.  

House Bill 325, sponsored by Rep. Tanya Miller (D - Atlanta) would require all law enforcement officers to wear body cameras while on the job. It would also classify tampering with a body camera as a misdemeanor.  The bill makes some exceptions on body camera use for privacy. 

Miller said the bill is important to promote transparency in law enforcement and build public trust.  

"We have been given this sort of false choice that you either are pro-public safety or you're pro-police accountability, but you can't be pro-both," she said.  "And I think you can absolutely be pro-both. Our communities deserve to be safe. They want to be safe, and they want to be treated with dignity in the process."

Miller, an attorney, has legally represented families of police brutality victims. She said that the recent death of Tyre Nichols at the hands of police has shown the importance of body cameras.  

"If you can see clearly that your officer has violated the law or has violated policy, then you can take quick action," she said. "And the fact that you can take quick action on a citizen complaint is a trust building sort of exercise."

While the bill was not motivated by recent police violence, Miller hopes that the attention on police violence can turn into momentum that leads to change.  

Police body camera footage has been at the top of many Georgians' minds after the death of activist Manuel Teran at a new police training center in Atlanta on Jan. 18. Officials released body camera footage of the encounter that led to Teran's death on Wednesday.  

HB 325 continues past efforts by Democrats to pass legislation requiring body camera use by all law enforcement personnel.