Body cameras did not stop the police vandalism. Here's why

Amid worldwide protests over racism and police violence, advocates are once again advocating reform.

Michael Brown was later murdered by a police officer in Ferguson, igniting the national Black Lives Matter movement, which has since adopted a relatively new solution to reform from President Barack Obama to the Brown family: body cameras. Officers with. If the police knew that their every action was being recorded, the argument was made, they would be over their best behavior. If not, the cameras will catch at least any misconduct, making law enforcement more transparent and accountable.

Six years later, body cameras are used by almost every major police force in the US, but they have failed to prevent much police violence. The technology did not stop the murder of George Floyd while he was in police custody last month. The next day, Floyd protested the arrest by telling the Minneapolis Police Department that body cameras were "on and active." Videos from viewers and security cameras, other than body cam footage, showed what law enforcement failed to do: Floyd died after an officer named Derek Chauvin shot him to the ground. Slammed. A murder verdict has been issued following Floyd's death, and four officers are now facing criminal charges, including second-degree murder for Chauvin.

Body cameras have long appealed to policymakers as a tool for police reform. Now, amid ongoing protests against racism and police violence, government officials are once again turning to the devices. The police reform law unveiled Wednesday by Senate Republicans encourages widespread use of body cameras. In Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Chief announced earlier this month that he wants to equip his officers with them to boost public confidence.

"People see body cameras as somewhat silver bullets," says Harlan Yu, executive director of the nonprofit Aperture, which focuses on progressive technology. However, the tools do not create greater accountability and transparency. How the police use it is important. It was discovered by Obama a decade and a half ago. In 2015, the former president said, "It's not rampant. Widespread changes in the culture and legal framework make people's privacy more respectful."

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