Today's Question: Will Taylor assault charge convince city to install surveillance cameras?

Thursday, July 16, 2009 | 11:36 a.m. CDT; updated 10:29 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, September 15, 2009

When 25-year-old Adam Taylor was assaulted in the Tenth Street parking garage June 6, he was knocked unconscious and robbed as part of a game called "Knock Out King." The incident was caught on tape by security cameras in the garage and led to the arrest of five suspects.

According to the victim and the Police Department, it is unlikely the assailants could have been identified without the use of the garage's surveillance cameras. That's prompted Taylor and his family to lobby for surveillance cameras downtown, and they plan to ask the City Council on Monday to revisit the issue.

It's been a little more than three months since the council voted down a proposal for downtown surveillance cameras. Despite support from the Special Business District, which offered to help fund the initiative, only Mayor Darwin Hindman voted for the proposal.

Dan Viets and Matt Volkert, big names in the local legal community, spoke out against putting the cameras in downtown areas during the April meeting when the issue was discussed. They and other residents were worried about the erosion of civil liberties.

Fourth Ward Councilman Jerry Wade said that over the past 15 years, the U.S. has moved toward sacrificing individual freedom for collective safety. He said he was not sure himself where the line was, but he anticipated more of these philosophical issues to arise as Columbia continues to grow.

The Special Business District still supports the initiative and heard the Taylors advocate for it on Tuesday. The Police Department welcomes anything that helps it solve crimes. But will the Taylor assault change the mind of any other city officials?

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Eric Cox July 16, 2009 | 3:26 p.m.

This is not a civil liberty issue, I could already be recording everything in a public parking garage or on a public street. The court has already ruled on this it's called a "reasonable expectation of privacy" and when you are in public you don't have any, try and think of it like this, when you are home on private property you have privacy and a right to it private=privacy, now when you are on the sidewalk you are on public property which is not private hence no rights to privacy, if you go to a televised ballgame and end up on television have your rights been violated? Warrantless wiretapping is a violation of your privacy not street cameras.

I love my councilman last week in the paper quoted as saying he voted on the bicycle ordinance and then thought "What did I just vote for" and now here seems to not understand the very basic principle of public property.

You know I do things I may not want on camera for the world to see, I just don't do them on the corner of Eighth and Broadway.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz July 16, 2009 | 3:54 p.m.

Just because it is public property doesn't mean we need to turn Columbia into some semblance of a police state. Similar to red light cameras, these proposed surveillance cameras won't make a major difference in crime unless the council spends enough money to blanket major portions of the city.

(Report Comment)
Eric Cox July 17, 2009 | 7:42 a.m.

John Schultz you're right lets not try and lower crime downtown or any high crime areas if we can't do it everywhere. And if you're scared of a police state and you are scared of street cameras then you should learn more about technology, street cameras would be a pretty inefficient way to track anybody. John I would also like to point out that a camera alone can't deprive you of anything. I just don't agree, I don't see a damn thing wrong with some cameras downtown and hope they do something to deter crime before someone gets killed.

(Report Comment)

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