Hi guys! Thank you for following us for the past few months! This is our last post and we would like to leave you all with some closing thoughts. We hope that after following this blog and reading our posts, you understand why we need police reform.
In the past few years, there has been an intense focus on our current police system. There have been a number of high profile police shootings where the public has been outraged by the force used by the officer. This has sparked conversations about police reform and how we can prevent the unjust shooting of citizens from happening again.
The first solution to this problem that our blog has argued for is the implementation of body cameras for all on duty police officers. We believe that by passing federal legislation that requires all officers to wear cameras, there will be less brutality against citizens and officers will have more accountability for their actions. If they are wearing cameras, then it will be clear to see when an officer has engaged in misconduct and can be punished. It will also deter officers from using excessive force because they know they are being recorded.
Our second solution to police brutality is the demilitarization of our police force. When police officers are trained like military members and given the same weapons, they will be more likely to use force. If they are equipped to use force, then they will think it’s okay to use it. Our blog found this to be a direct threat to democracy because no police force should have this much power over the people. If we can change the mindset of the police and avoid militarization, then there will be less instances where officers use unjust force.
Our third solution to police brutality is the elimination of stop and frisk. Through our research, we found that stop and frisk laws are biased towards minority men. This shows there is an obvious flaw in the system and the practice should not be used. Therefore, stop and frisk should be outlawed by federal law to ensure equality under the law for all of our citizens, regardless of race.
Police reform is not something that can happen overnight. We need federal laws passed and people in our government to support the cause. We hope that this blog has inspired you to get out there and fight to protect our community!!!
Thank you all!
-Emily, Harrison, Jared, & Steve
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.
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.
The 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?
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?
The purpose of this blog is to call for legislative reform to the flawed police system in the United States. Many people are outraged by the incidents of police brutality and injustice happening daily, like the deaths of Michael Brown and Freddie Gray. Social movements like Black Lives Matter have brought these issues to mainstream news and social media, and this blog’s purpose is to further convince readers why police reform is necessary.
In this blog, we will call for the mandatory use of police worn body cameras, the demilitarization the police force, and the end of stop and frisk policies. We believe that by legislatively correcting these problems, we will begin to take steps towards having liberty and justice for ALL Americans, not just some. Please follow along each week and read why we think there are problems in our current police system system and how we think they should be solved.