Written by: Vandita
President Obama announced this week that White House will ask Congress for $75 million over three years to subsidize the purchase of up to 50,000 body-worn cameras for local police in an attempt to bring accountability.
Body cameras are expected to provide ‘evidence’ of encounters between police and civilians; however, whether they will end police brutality is a different question altogether.
- A Staten Island grand jury decided not to indict the police officer Daniel Pantaleo who placed Eric Garner in a chokehold. The act was filmed by a bystander.
- A St. Louis County grand jury decided not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in killing of teenager Michael Brown. The murder was video-taped.
- A Greene County grand jury declined to indict police officer Sean Williams who shot John Crawford, 22. Surveillance cameras captured the homicide.
The recent murders of Garner, Brown and Crawford at the hands of police stirred public protests, inflamed communities across the country and raging anger against police brutality. Obama’s attempt to restore trust of the police in minority communities by making police wear body cameras is being met with mixed response.
While New York Mayor Bill de Blasio believes “body cameras are one of the ways to create a real sense of transparency and accountability”, the Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh believes “the body cameras aren’t going to help with the fundamental problems between community and police”.
Here’s what the common people feel about police adopting body cameras as an accountability and evidence-gathering tool…
We now have 5 videos of police officers killing Black Americans on camera and they haven’t been indicted. What’s the point of body cameras?
— fresh prince (@DonxFigueroa) December 3, 2014
Body cameras won’t help if cops aren’t being indicted for strangling a man to death on camera.
— Doc Holliday (@iN3RT_) December 3, 2014
Even if Obama arms officers with body cameras to prevent police violence, nothing can be done if they never turn them on in the first place. And then, the body cameras are not pointed at the police officer so filming an off-camera brutality, confrontation or altercation seems next to impossible.