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Old 10-10-2014, 02:17 PM
BrainGlutton is offline
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Tampa, Florida
Posts: 78,508
Relevant article: "You see this? You see this?” Why videos of police misconduct are no panacea.

As Regina Mahone wrote at RH Reality Check, what one sees on videos of conflict with the police is influenced by one’s existing beliefs and biases. For those who believe black bodies are often a threat and that police are generally a force for good, it may be easy to look at a video like the one of Lamard and Lateefah Joye and presume they deserve what happened to them, just as the police officer looked at cash in Joye’s pocket and presumed that a black man with a wad of bills must have been up to no good.

The existence of these videos also shows the limits of the popular reform goal of body cameras on police officers, which has been promoted as a solution in Ferguson, Missouri and in New York City. Even with bystanders obviously filming police on cell-phone cameras, officers seem perfectly comfortable pocketing a man’s cash, punching a teenager, or putting a man in a chokehold. Video of Officer Sean Williams shooting John Crawford III in an Ohio Walmart was not enough to even get an indictment.

Video evidence alone is not enough to make change happen. It is a start, as it brings the reality of the day-to-day impunity with which the police often act home to people who are rarely victims of such actions. But more is required of us than expressions of shock.

Without action, the videos can too often function purely as spectacle, piquing our shock and anger and for a moment before we pass on to the next story, the next YouTube clip, return to our daily lives. For many of us, the reality shown on those video clips will never happen to ourselves or to those we love, and so it is easy to express outrage and assume that the existence of the video means justice will come. Some of us have the luxury of forgetting that black lives have been devalued in this country for centuries.