Below is a recent article in “Activist Post” (http://www.activistpost.com/…/5-reasons-police-body-cameras…) and underneath it is my response. kra
Here are 5 reasons to oppose body cameras for cops:
Video didn’t matter in publicized cases: In the case of Eric Garner, the NY man who was choked to death for selling loose cigarettes, clear video footage did not matter. In the court’s eyes disobeying officers is grounds for using lethal force. Case closed, at least until laws are changed.
Privacy, facial recognition: Technology already exists for cameras to be equipped with facial recognition software that could immediately identify anyone the cop comes in contact with. And with new threat level analysis of social media and other “watch list” mechanisms, cops will be motivated to stop someone without actual probable cause. This is extremely dangerous for liberty. This alone should halt your support for mandatory police cameras.
Boondoggle – Just like Michael Chertoff cashed in on naked body scanners following the sketchy underwear bomber, several cronies will make big bucks outfitting all police with these cameras and for providing supposed oversight.
Ends being let off with a warning: Remember the good cops who let you off on warnings for minor infractions? Say goodbye to that. Police cameras will be used to hold police accountable to their bosses more than to the public.
Cops can turn them off: Cops can easily turn the cameras off, and precincts can delete or edit footage in their favor. Cameras are as good as useless if people don’t trust the system to preserve and use the footage wisely.
Cameras may prevent some good cops from acting like complete thugs; however, when thuggish behavior is not just tolerated but legal in the eyes of the system, does it really matter if we have that behavior on video or not?
1. That the evidence was wrongly ignored by prosecutors in one case does not mean that it will be in others. Laws on this don’t need to change; the laws must be enforced – against cops or anyone else!
2. Any stop without probable cause can be challenged. With sound policies in place there is no reason to suggest the technology will be abused.
3. Sure someone will profit selling the systems. So what?
4. This does not necessarily follow as a logical consequence. Again, any police agency is as good as its policies/people.
5. Sound policies will dictate when they must be on/off. Perhaps they can also be mandated to be monitored and/or made available to any prosecutor’s office. Editing usually can be detected, and should lead to stiff penalties.
The FACT is that where body cams have been used (Rialto, CA), wearing cameras was associated with dramatic reductions in use of force and complaints against officers over a 12 month period. In one major city where body cams are in use (Rialto), use of force by cops is down 69 percent (people are less confrontational when they know the camera is on), and complaints against cops are down 89 percent! kra 12/28/14