Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Armed officers need to be required to be wearing cameras
There is no easy answer to the problem of unjustified deadly force used by police and the violence that often results when an unarmed, or apparently unarmed, black citizen is killed by police in questionable circumstances. However, as the Ferguson, MO and other examples show, when the facts are seriously in dispute or unknown (or concealed by authorities), civil disorder frequently results. As others have suggested, what we need is a requirement that all armed officers wear a camera also with audio capacity. Police CARS now routinely have such equipment in many jurisdictions and it is a widely accepted practice by police, the "experts" and public. Some agencies are already doing it with their officers. It needs to be a requirement for ALL armed officers. Each state should mandate this, and a funding mechanism needs to be established. If an officer kills or seriously injures anyone, the audio and video should be released quickly to the public and media. It might deter officers from all sorts of misdeeds and quick release of the video and audio might prevent civil disorder. This type of evidence will help us make more accurate determinations of whether or not this officer needs to be exonerated or disciplined, sued and/or criminally punished. Of course, it is possible that the audio and video may show police abuse and trigger disorder. However, hopefully, police will be able to anticipate trouble and be prepared if their review before the mandatory and prompts release shows serious problems. However, I think overall, the effect would be very beneficial.