Police Body Cameras Were Supposed To Make A Difference And They Barely Did
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Police Body Cameras Were Supposed To Make A Difference And They Barely Did

We're basically at square one.

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Police Body Cameras Were Supposed To Make A Difference And They Barely Did
National Review

Since the death Michael Brown in Ferguson back in 2014, the question of whether or not to place body cameras on police officers became a hot button issue. This policy had overwhelming popular support, with 88 percent of Americans supporting the measure. The issue seemed non controversial, because of the several apparent benefits that were argued would follow with the implementation of the cameras. Many thought it would hold officer's accountable in shootings, while at the same time clearing their name if the shooting was justified.

But reality showed a different narrative.

Not much has changed.

Let's take some of the most blatant, non controversial police shooting trials that became hot topics in the media. The shooting of Walter Scott in South Carolina, the shooting of Samuel Dubose in Ohio and the shooting of Philando Castille in Minnesota.

Walter Scott

In the video that captured the entire incident, Scott clearly is no threat to the officer. Even conservative commentator Sean Hannity couldn't contain his outrage, and refused to defend the officer in question. But the case still ended in a mistrial, due to the jurors not being able to reach a unanimous verdict, though the officer Slager later did plead guilty to a different civil rights charge.

Sam Dubose

University of Cincinnati Officer Ray Tensing stopped Sam Dubose for not having a front license plate. The body camera video shows tensing was not a threat. Pro police prosecutor Joe Deters stated that it was absolutely unacceptable, but still had to drop the charges after two hung jury trials.

Philando Castille

Officer Jeronimo Yanez was not wearing a body camera, but his dashboard camera revealed much of what happened. Castille informed Yanez that he was a licensed concealed carry permit holder, and was shot because Yanez feared he was reaching for it, despite Castille's insistence that he was not. Forensic evidence supports Castille's narrative. Officer Yanez was still found not guilty. Conservative online magazine The National Review, called this a "miscarriage of justice".

A recent and widely known case was the shooting of Australian Yoga instructor, Justine Diamond. The officer who killed Diamond did not have his body camera turned on, even though his department required that they are on while interacting with citizens. Unfortunately they can't be left on at all times automatically, to the technological limits.

Why is it so hard to indict a police officer despite all of the evidence provided by recording them?

It's simple, you need to have a unanimous guilty verdict to indict an officer. And due to the enormous amount of trust placed with them, that's almost impossible.


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