15, 2014, that, despite “formal similarities” between images, depictions of the police “could not have been more different,” as “[t]oday’s riot police officers [are] wearing military-style camouflage and carrying military-style rifles, their heads and faces obscured by black helmets and gas masks as they [stand] in front of an armored vehicle”); Dani Mc Clain, — began largely in response to a Missouri grand jury’s decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for any crime related to his fatal shooting of Michael Brown, a black teenager who was unarmed when shot.
Prior to the grand jury’s decision, both protestors and politicians were calling for police departments across the country to outfit their officers with body cameras.The hope was that video recordings of police-civilian interactions would deter officer misconduct and eliminate the ambiguity present in cases like Michael Brown’s, making it easier to punish officers’ use of excessive force. 25, 2014, PM), (“Civil liberties advocates argue that video records prevent cops from abusing their authority, while law enforcement groups note that a person cannot falsely accuse an officer if their encounter is recorded.”).Indeed, on December 1, 2014 — two days prior to the grand jury decision in Garner’s case — President Obama announced 3 million in federal funding to allow law enforcement agencies “to purchase body-worn cameras and improve training.” note 10.This money “would be used by the federal government to match up to 50 percent spending by state and local police departments on body-worn cameras and storage for the equipment.The White House estimate[d] that aspect of the program, which would cost million, would help fund the purchase of 50,000 body-worn cameras.” The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) also repeatedly voiced its support for widespread adoption of this new technology, heralding body cameras as “a win-win” as long as civilian privacy remained properly protected.
exemplifies the human tendency, in times of tragedy, to latch on to the most readily available solution to a complex problem. This lack of accountability occurred despite the deadly use of a chokehold, Goodman & Baker, . 7, 2014, PM), [ (discussing the chokehold ban, but adding that the department has still received over 1000 allegations of chokeholds between 20).
But as the outcome of Garner’s case demonstrates, even when high-quality, graphic footage is available, officers may still not be indicted, let alone convicted. The ban “specifically [does] not distinguish between various types of holds, but rather ban[s] them categorically.” Ian Fisher, Moreover, body cameras are a powerful — and indiscriminate — technology.
Their proliferation over the next decade will inevitably change the nature of policing in unexpected ways, quite possibly to the detriment of the citizens the cameras are intended to protect.
Historically, many reforms undertaken for the professed purpose of “protecting” civilians have ultimately ended up empowering police officers. [y]et the high level of force seldom translated into arrests”); Donald Braman, (Mar.
For example, the stop-and-frisk programs, ostensibly implemented to deter violence in high-crime neighborhoods, have enabled officers to stop and search a grossly disproportionate number of minorities without any proven efficacy. 15, 2012), that NYPD officers made 680,000 stops in 2011, over 80% of which involved stopping a black or Latino individual, and finding that “police used some level of physical force in more than one in five stops across the city . 26, 2014, PM), [ (“There’s no good evidence that the invasive policing strategy brought down crime.”).
note 9 (citing a study finding that 60% of Americans disagree with the grand jury outcome in Garner’s case, as compared to 36% of Americans disagreeing with the outcome in Brown’s case, and arguing that the disparity is due to the existence of video footage of the Garner incident, which significantly lessened the “debate about the particulars of precisely what happened”). Usually, a hasty legal reform results from the panic.