The Fallible and Unsupported Argument Against Body Cameras

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Police departments nationwide have begun experimenting with body camera use. However, this has inspired many critics to come out against body camera use and warn others of the potential “dangers” of their use. An example of this kind of criticism can be found in an article written on a Bloomberg editorial board. In this article, the author makes several claims against the use of body cameras. The first argument the author makes is that video recordings are not helpful because they lack context and they can mislead juries.  This claim is invalid for many reasons. First of all, if an officer is forced to wear a body camera at all times while they are on duty, the context of the situation will not be ambiguous. The viewer of the video will be able to see the events that happened leading up to an altercation, as well as what happened during the altercation.

The second reason this claim is invalid is because the author is implying that just because video recordings are somewhat fallible, they should not be used at all. I find this logic very simplistic and unconvincing. It is better to have some recording of a situation than no recording at all. Yes, it is true that there might be bad lighting or an unhelpful angle on a video recording, but this only happens some of the time. Also, just because a video recording is unhelpful does not mean the audio recording is not useful. If the image is blurry but the audio still records an officer committing a crime, then the body camera was useful. d0e62304b81f6182931224c9b2dbf698a59c610b2c5d01093b58d2571d4d049c

In this article, the author also argues that body cameras could “erode trust between citizens and law enforcement.” Not only is this claim unsupported, it does not make logical sense. While it is true that some citizens may feel uncomfortable being recorded, this does not necessarily mean they will distrust police officers. On the contrary, it would make more logical sense that body cameras increase trust in police officers because citizens know the officer is being held accountable for their actions. Citizens should have more trust that they will be treated fairly because the officer would not risk engaging in misconduct when they are being recorded.

According to a Rialto, CA study done on the use of body cameras, there is evidence that the use of body cameras both decreased the use of force by officers and decreased the number of complaints against officers. Based on these findings, body cameras force officers to act properly when dealing with citizens and they are less likely to use force. This shows that body camera use actually aids the relationship between the police and citizens and does not “erode trust” like the author claims.

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Body Cameras for Police Officers Gaining Momentum Across the Nation

http://www.ksfy.com/content/news/Body-cameras-on-police-officers-gaining-momentum-417066933.html

6PM+PKG+ABERDEEN+BODY+CAMERAS+3-24-17.Still001The South Dakota Advisory Committee is just one of the latest groups to take a look at the value of forcing all police officers to wear body cameras. The group believes that it would be a great idea, especially when it comes to policing minority communities. Rather than just listening to bias recounts of an event, if police officers wore cameras, we would have concrete evidence of what actually happened. Furthermore, Lawrence Diggs, an author who took part on the Diversity Panel during the South Dakota Advisory Committee’s “Subtle Effects of Racism in South Dakota” meeting on Friday says that “It will help us to understand their perspective and it gives us an opportunity for better training for the officers.”

Do you think Body Cameras are a step towards the right direction in regards to helping Police Brutality?

Rap about Police Brutality

The video above consists of an African American man rapping about his opinions on Police Brutality.  The man brings up many valid points regarding the magnitude of power that police officers have in today’s world and how they misuse that power. When the singer states: “If I committed murder, I’d get 25 to life. But if a cop committed murder, he’d only get suspended” it can be inferred that he believes that police officers get off the hook way too often and it is really starting to become unjust. Furthermore, the creator of this video does a great job of displaying to the viewer how many of these cases have arose as he implements many different examples of news stories into the video making it a great watch.

(Warning: Explicit Lyrics)

Chicago Police Reform

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/03/14/chicago-vows-police-reforms-doj-aversion-to-consent-decrees/99189210/Chicago Police Reform

With domestic police violence constantly on the rise, and with extremely high gun violence in Chicago, the demand for reform is at an all- time high. However, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has shied away from these reforms in the pursuit of what the Trump administration considers to be bigger issues. In response to this, Chicago police have vowed to “bolster community policing, implement a field training officer for new cops, revise the department’s use of force policy and other changes in the months ahead”. With almost 900 murders and 4800 shooting victims in the last 14 months, Chicago is a delicate situation that has to be handled with care and vigilance.

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French Police Kill Chinese Man

french-cop-studenthttp://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/French-Cops-Kill-Chinese-Man-Sparking-Protests-Police-Violence-20170328-0027.html

This article discusses police violence outside of the US that we rarely hear about in America. It makes it clear that the issue of police reform isn’t only domestic, it’s international. In this case, the French police stated that the man “attacked them with scissors”, but his daughter’s statement is that her Father was cutting fish when the police broke down the door and “fired without warning”. This has lead to mass protests in France and tensions continuing to rise as protesters clash with police in riot gear with tear gas.

Body Cameras For All Officers

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During the Trump administration, there has been very little talk about police brutality, even though it has been one of the most widely publicized topics in the United States for the past five years. There have been cases where police officers have used unjust deadly force on a citizen and they were not punished for it. One of the biggest reasons for this is a lack of clarity about what actually happened during the altercation between the officer and the citizen.

In order to hold individuals in our police force accountable, all officers should be required to wear body worn cameras while they are on duty. The most obvious benefit of this would be that every officer’s actions would be monitored, which would reduce the amount of uncertainty when an incident happens. In cases where an officer uses deadly force, the footage from a body camera would help determine whether the force was justified or if the officer unjustly used force. It saddens me to think about the number of families that have been torn apart by police brutality, especially when their family member’s killer was not punished for their actions. Many of those victims could’ve received justice if the officer on duty was wearing a body camera.

When officers are forced to wear body cameras, they know their actions are being monitored and do not engage in misconduct as often. According to a study by Cambridge University,  in seven areas that have already implemented the use of body worn cameras, there has been a dramatic decrease in the number of complaints against police officers. This shows that wearing body cameras causes officers to think twice before they act and have a higher accountability for their actions. In past police brutality cases, the officer may have thought twice before using deadly force if they knew their actions would be recorded. This could’ve saved the lives of countless Americans, especially those in the African American community.

Since the death of Michael Brown in 2014, there have been at least 2,756 people killed by police officers. How many more lives need to be lost before we realize our police system needs body cameras?

 

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Meet Jared

My name is Jared Gaon and I am a Sophomore, Communications major here at the University of Maryland. The idea of police brutality is a huge issue in the United States and one that is only getting worse. How often do you hear about a police officer taking advantage of his or her power? There are thousands of reports of police misconduct each year – with many leading to death. Something has got to change. What if one of those fatalities happened to be you, or someone in your family? With this blog, we hope to further your knowledge in this field and explain one of the nation’s biggest issues.

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Meet Steve

My name is Steve and I am a junior Communications studies major. Seeing constant violence on the media is troubling and more troubling, and more troubling is the fact that the people who are supposed to stop it are often perpetrators themselves. Police violence is a major civil issue in the United States today, and it’s important to discuss necessary changes that can be made to improve our public safety.

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Meet Harrison

My name is Harrison Gibert. I am a 23-year-old African American male at the University of Maryland. I am majoring in History and have plans to eventually work in or influence social justice in our country. As an African American male, the issue of police injustice is important because it is a problem that mostly effects the African American community. The history of our country has many roots of injustice. One of these injustices is police brutality, and through this blog we plan to talk about some of the injustices that come with police brutality and problems it causes in communities around the country. We will also visit potential reforms to correct the inequality and discrimination that takes place because of police brutality. Hopefully through this blog, we will be able to raise awareness of police brutality and suggest real reforms to aid our society. hg