Rodney King, Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell, Michael Brown, all of these are cases of police brutality and unjust behavior by law enforcement. Many people begin to feel like they can’t trust the police.
But slowly things are being done to combat that.The latest step in fostering the trust of law enforcement has been to give policemen body cameras. This program is being implemented in states such as Utah, New Mexico, and Michigan. Now these cameras are working their way to big metropolitan cities like New York.
The New York Times reported that the police precincts in the highest crime areas in the city will be getting body cameras. Harlem, The South Bronx, East New York and even South Jamaica. This move seems to be popular with people on the street. It should keep police honest and bring down complaints of police brutality.
Politicians have been clamoring for this for a while. Former New York State Representative Anthony Weiner, and Public Advocate Letitia James have spoken highly of this program and
want it for New York. This program was also endorsed by the current Police Commissioner William Bratton. Everything about this program seems to work. But what happens when people still get hurt even with the cameras?
The Associated Press reported that the District Attorney of Salt Lake City, Utah used a body camera to justify an officer’s lethal force against an unarmed man. The man was seen on camera refusing to comply with police who were telling him to take his hands out of his shorts while guns were pointed at him. He kept saying, “no fool.” Police then shot him twice and tried to revive him using CPR. He died at the scene.
The District Attorney used the police body cameras to ultimately determine that the police were justified in shooting him. So, in the end, what it all comes down to is this: are we willing to listen to the officers in charge? Sure there has been a lot of racial profiling by police in the news, but it is a double edged sword. Police have no right to harass people but citizens don’t have aright to disregard them either.
Police get so much flack for the things they say on the media. But if the police officer asks a citizen to do something that is not a violation of their rights, just do it. Police are supposed to be there to be there to protect and serve. a lot of street cops put their lives on the line every day. So people can see why they have to take threats seriously.
In the end, the police body cameras should stop needless stop and frisk arrests. It may stop
some police from abusing their power. But it doesn’t change the fact that citizens have to follow the
law. So while the cameras are a good way to keep an eye out for police abuse, they also help make
sure the police are treated fairly as well.