Mon Aug 26, 2013, 07:07 PM
MrScorpio (67,147 posts)
The Cops Should Always Be On Camera
For the past 12 months, police officers in Rialto, California, have been wearing cameras while on duty as part of a pilot program. It’s expensive to mount a camera on every uniformed cop, but the idea is that by recording all the interactions between officers and civilians and suspects, cops will behave better and complaints against the department will be quickly resolved—if someone makes a claim about being mistreated, it can be easily proved or disproved by a look at the tape. The experiment seems to be going well, and starting September 1, all 66 uniformed officers in Rialto will wear them. Complaints against the department have gone down 88 percent over the course of the year-long study while the use of force by officers declined by more than half, implying that cameras really do benefit both police and civilians. Indeed, a New York Daily News article highlighted the case of Rialto cop Randy Peterson, who was cleared of an excessive-force allegation lodged against him by a mentally disturbed man thanks to his body camera.
But not all departments are as forward-thinking as Rialto’s, or as concerned with the future of police accountability. On August 12, when the New York Police Department’s stop-and-frisk policy was ruled unconstitutionally racist, the judge pointed to Rialto as an example of how to make cops accountable while ordering the NYPD to institute a similar program. The cops aren’t happy about this, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg—who generally supports surveillance when it comes to monitoring the civilian population—called the idea “a nightmare.” NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly also sounded dubious, saying that these body cameras have only been tried in much smaller cities than New York (Rialto has about 100,000 people). And it’s true that since these body cameras cost $900 a pop, outfitting all of New York’s 35,000 uniformed officers might prove fiscally impossible.
Cops generally object to being filmed even when it doesn’t cost their departments money. It’s easy to find footage on YouTube of cops objecting to being filmed by civilians—sometimes violently, sometimes with illegal arrests. Websites like Photography Is Not a Crime and Copblock are devoted to filming police, reporting on incidents where cops violate the civil rights of people who try to do so, and encouraging everyone to keep a close eye on law enforcement. You’ll even hear horror stories of people in states with restrictive wiretapping laws like Indiana and Massachusetts facing criminal prosecutions for trying to record the cops. The charges are usually eventually dropped, but the question remains: Why, if they aren’t doing anything wrong, are the police so afraid of being filmed?
A shout out to DU's own Carlos Miller! BOOYAH!
17 replies, 1710 views
The Cops Should Always Be On Camera (Original post)
|Nye Bevan||Aug 2013||#12|
|Arctic Dave||Aug 2013||#15|
Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #1)
Mon Aug 26, 2013, 09:33 PM
Bluenorthwest (45,319 posts)
4. Sometimes they are and with film more often, that's why they opposed being on camera
Your question, rather than questioning the level of oversight and prosecution of police crimes, purports that none of them are ever prosecuted and that is simply not the case. Not enough of them? I assume that is the case? Too slowly? Very often that is true as well. But they do go down, and their resistance to being recorded on the job is all about their not wanting to see more of their own caught doing that thing they do.
The claim that they simply never get prosecuted feeds the apathy that says 'why bother trying to catch the bad cops'. I do not support it.
Response to Bluenorthwest (Reply #4)
Mon Aug 26, 2013, 09:58 PM
Logical (22,457 posts)
5. Very very seldom. And even if not charged they are not fired. The police....
typically investigate their own and mostly find nothing wrong. The police should never investigate. There needs to be an independent or citizen based investigation.
Also, local prosecutors don't want cops pissed at them because they need cops to find and research crimes.
Local judges, especially if elected, want and need the support of the police unions.
Also, Police "unions" tend to protect obviously bad cops.
The system is broke. But most people do not care.
Response to Logical (Reply #5)
Mon Aug 26, 2013, 10:04 PM
G_j (37,839 posts)
Hearing someone cry out in distress is difficult for many to endure. When the distress is caused by a gang with badges accountable to no one it is difficult to protect anyone. A judge made an effort to calm a situation that should not have happened.
A homeless man already in restraints was being attacked by police.
The police response, hide the evidence and lie to the district attorney. Shop owners were threatened not to show security footage of the man being attacked. Responsible citizens gathering evidence with their cameras were pushed out of range to hide the misdeeds of the NYPD.
A seventy year old judge was struck in the neck by an officer intent on hiding the criminality of his peers. The ER told the judge he had a crushed larynx. The police who have no medical license told the DA the judge had a sore throat from yelling.
And from what appears to be standard, the video evidence of the misdeeds was not even considered when the NYPD investigated themselves and found no wrongdoing.
Response to MrScorpio (Original post)
Mon Aug 26, 2013, 10:38 PM
VADem1980 (53 posts)
9. I have a cheaper solution:
Take away the three things that make them fearless when dealing with innocent citizens:
1.) Their guns
2.) Their Tazers
3.) Their body armor
Municipalities could save THOUSANDS of dollars by not equipping their local police with those items. Instead, they would be locked in an armory (along with shoulder mounted cameras), and would require a ranking officer (like a captain) to sign off on their use for a specific situation like a hostage crisis.
Your assaults on citizens would drop to next to nothing when the cops can't feel invincible, and municipalities would save a lot of money on both insurance (fewer lawsuits, guaranteed!) and equipment!
Response to KinMd (Reply #11)
Tue Aug 27, 2013, 01:27 AM
Gravitycollapse (7,218 posts)
13. Many places have police officers without firearms.
It was more common in the past, when criminals were less likely to use firearms in the commission of a crime. But there are still many jurisdictions where beat cops don't carry firearms.
The ASU Police Department, the largest university police department in the country, does not carry firearms.
Response to KinMd (Reply #14)
Tue Aug 27, 2013, 01:47 AM
Gravitycollapse (7,218 posts)
16. Most police officers in the United Kingdom do not carry firearms.
Just to provide a better example. Not that I'm saying all officers should not carry firearms.