Why Police Body Cams Will Not Solve Problem.

Williams C., Lauren. “Why Cameras Alone Won’t Solve Our Police Abuse Problem.” Thinkprogress.org. ThinkProgress, 19 Aug. 2014. Web. 11 Aug. 2015.


Lauren C. Williams’s article “Why Cameras Alone Won’t Solve Our Police Abuse Problem” discusses the possibility that videos from police cameras can be subjected to abuse if not carefully mitigated during police reform just like other law enforcement tools. This idea comes from the statements of Hanni Fakuory, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco. Fakuory also states that the “use of video footage of police misconduct doesn’t always yield justice.”

Within the article Fakuory provides two reasons behind her claim of police body cameras subjecting abuse. Her first reason states that Justice is not guaranteed. She begins stating that “witnesses’ and police video recordings, even those that may be damming, have not consistently led to convictions in the past of police accused of violating citizens’ rights.” She then offers a couple of examples, one pertaining to a Chicago police officer who was not charged despite video footage showing him standing over a victim’s body fatally shooting the unarmed man on in 2013. Another example she offers is an incident that happened earlier this year. Police officers caught on tape beating a schizophrenic homeless man to death were acquitted by a jury. As videos go viral of police abuse, little legal action has been sparked. As Fakuory’s final example, she brings up the Eric Garner case stating that no charges have been brought against the officers involved in his death even after the medical examiner ruled the killing a homicide. Instead, the officer who fired the deadly shot was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter instead of murder.

As some police departments have adopted body cameras, Fakuory suggest that others have rejected the technology after learning that Los Angeles police officers were caught disabling voice recording equipment on about 50 squad cars, most of which were used to patrol low-income communities densely populated with people of color. And in cases where cameras are used, departments frequently deny request for footage or tamper footage before its release.

Fakuory’s second reason supporting her claim surrounds the potential for abuse. She states “when it comes to technology, there’s the potential for abuse.” Overall law enforcement’s history with technology tends to follow the same pattern: “when they get new tools, they use them aggressively especially as these things get smaller and easier to use.” She begins to compare body cameras to what happened when police forces began using tasers and mace. Although these methods were introduced as a non-lethal way to subdue suspects, they have become prone to abuse. Fakuory closes with evidence within the New York Police Department that support her claim of lethal force.

Although I do agree with Fakuory’s reasoning in that even if video footage is provided, officers in some cases do in fact do not get charged with their actions towards civilians. In a sense, just because we capture events on camera it does not mean justice will be served as much as we would like to see it be. However, I completely disagree with her comparison of video cameras to other tools such as tasers and mace. This comparison is outrageous and should not be believed by the audience due to it being a clearly false analogy. This analogy compares two things that share no similarity, and in this case body cameras have nothing to do with mace and tasers. Fakuory wants the audience to believe that these cameras could become a lethal force, which is ridiculous to think about. Would such a camera become a blunt weapon of some sort? Ultimately resulting in her uncanny argument.



Filed under Blog Post 4

6 Responses to Why Police Body Cams Will Not Solve Problem.

  1. Kimberly

    I can see where fakuorys sees that the cameras will not always be used in determining the case. However, (like you Ross) I don’t see how officers can abuse the use of body cameras. The comparison does nothing for her argument.

  2. Itza

    I totally agree with Kimberly about the lack of reason Fakuory mentions. Her examples of how body cameras might not help give justice may convince people of how they are not useful. However, her claim that officers will be able to abuse these body cameras does not make any sense. Cameras are no where associated with the use of tasers and mace.

  3. Evelyn

    I agree with the comparison of cameras and tasers. Those are two totally different things. Body cameras on officers should be a mandatory thing not just for justice but because police officers are people who can commit crimes and mistakes. If a retail worker has to monitored on their job then what makes an officer any different?

  4. Shayla Myers

    I completely agree with what you had to say in the last paragraph. Adding body cameras to officers don’t bring justice and it’s just as helpful as not having them. I also agree that having that comparison to other tools was the best analogy. The author could have used anything else besides that because I too don’t see how a body camera can be used to their advantage.

  5. Telana

    I agree as well that body cameras won’t be as effective as people hope. Police officers will still be acquitted for the crimes they commit because it has happened in many instances where such actions have been recorded. I think the issuance of body cameras is just a way for police departments to compromise with the public who are outraged with officers recent actions and how they handle certain situation that most likely end up in wrongful death.

  6. Kevin

    Even if they wear body cameras I personally would still be afraid for my life if I ran into trouble with the police. They put themselves on a high horse thinking they are above the law which really they kind of are. There have been over 300 wrongful deaths by police officers and only 3 of the officers were convicted. How many innocent lives have to die before we stop this problem.

Leave a Reply