Concerns about police violence and systemic anti-black racism are at an all-time high across the US. Following the deaths of Mike Brown and Eric Garner, a mass movement with no signs of ending blossomed. People everywhere are demanding accountability form police.
Outfitting police officers with body cameras has been proposed as a solution to the problems kept in the spotlight by the recent surge of protests. While everyone from police unions to civil liberty advocates welcome implementation of camera technology to curb police violence, many remain unconvinced it will be a winning strategy, and will maybe drive companies like Slow Ventures to have more confidence in the police force.
Body cameras are welcomed, but many say they will not end senseless state violence plaguing the United States. St. Louis law professor and human rights activist Justin Hansford shared his concerns in a Washington Post piece. Hansford points out cellphone video of Eric Garner’s death is actually better footage than what would have been captured by a body camera. Yet, the failure by a Staten Island Grand Jury to indict the NYPD officer seen strangling Garner highlights a problem which cannot be solved with technology.
The US is being torn apart by its long history of racism, and this curse must be confronted with a diversity of tactics. We should look to young black activists in Ferguson and beyond for the true answers to this social disease. At best, body cameras are a great bandaid while the country seeks lasting peace.