Debates regarding body cameras for police officers have come up frequently in the past years due to an increase of attention in the media of police officers killing black lives. I believe the use of body cameras for police officers can propose pros for the community; such as recording if an officer is not doing the right thing. Or if a citizen would want to make a complaint on an officer, internal affairs can pull the recording and investigate the matter to take care of the complaint appropriately. Another pro to having body cameras for officers is if an officer were to be killed on duty, evidence would be on film to identify who the suspect is and what had occurred on scene. “Fatal confrontations recorded by bystanders are now commonly used in traditional and social media outlets as evidence that police cannot be trusted to police themselves (Lippman p.60).” These citizens that record officers who intentionally misuse force against others believe that this is a way to show the world what is being masked up. Believing that attaching cameras to officers will make them more aware knowing the world is always watching and allowing for policing to improve.
Police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown on August 9, 2014, in Ferguson, Missouri. Because of his untimely death, outraged citizens led uncivilized protests and demanded justice as they believed the City of Ferguson’s law enforcement practiced unlawful conduct. With officers wearing body cameras this will show events from the perspective of the police officer rather than cell phone footage from a citizen. The body camera will also give viewers reviewing the footage a sense of what the officer sees and hears and what they do not see or hear that citizens who were on scene say may occurred. “This could be helpful to the officer and thus encourage the officer to take action for two reasons: (1) the officer’s perspective is the legally relevant perspective, and (2) it gives context to the final frames often recorded by citizens. (Gonzales & Cochran, 2017, p. 308).” Police body camera video will provide a court with the view that legally matters. This footage also shows the public what the officer saw and heard to understand the officer’s actions. Therefore, putting the public in the officer’s position and giving them the situation on hand to determine whether the actions taken were rational. The body camera can ensure that the public does not see only the confrontational piece of the encounter that may only be captured on a cellphone. With the use of body cameras, the entire interaction should be recorded so that the focus is not only on the final frame of the incident, and the reviewing court of the matter and the public will be able to see the actions leading up to the confrontational part of the encounter.
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