Scholarly discussion: Black Lives Matter and Body-Worn Cameras.
There is an absolute need for police reforms in the United States. Reported cases of the violence the police use on black men, women, people with no documentation, the disabled, queer and Trans is a definite example of how black lives are continuously disvalued in the United States. Statistics demonstrate that black people are more than twice as likely as white people to be killed by police officers. Placing of body worn cameras on police officers have been suggested by the community stakeholders and criminal justice leaders. BWC have improved police courtesy as well as improving the perception of citizen on police transparency and their lawfulness (Braga, 2017). The article highlights the importance of body worn cameras , because BWC function by recording every police encounter with the public and hence a good number of individuals champion the installation of BWC on police officers to curb the use of violence against people of color.
In the article, “The benefits of body worn Cameras: new findings from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department”, Anthony Braga et. al (2017) categorically denotes the importance, the significance and the positive implications of the utilization of body-worn cameras as a solution to police brutality. He indicates that, Body-worn cameras are beneficial as they play a major role in boosting police accountability. The installation of body worn cameras will make it possible for the general public to see how police officers interact with community members, while undertaking their tasks during their duty shifts and hence there will be transparency and the actions of the police officers will definitely be available to the scrutiny of the general public as well as the individuals in the criminal justice system. The author goes ahead to explain the direct correlation between body-worn cameras and police accountability. The body- worn cameras will ensure that the police account for their actions at all times. Accountability is certainly an important feature of the American police department and accountability also fosters lawfulness and legitimacy which play a great role in ensuring that the police department achieves its goal of ensuring law and order is kept in the community.
Braga, (2017) therefore, identifies that body worn cameras will ensure that the police officers are at all times cautious of their actions and in return serve the members of the community with fairness and with responsibility as they deserve. It is also indicated that, body worn cameras will ensure that the civilians and the police officers are protected. From the study, it is clear that after the use of Body-worn cameras the reports on the use of force and violence by the police on members of the public reduced and it was contributed by the fact that, the interactions of the police and the members of the public are captured and recorded. To add to that, the body-worn cameras will also help to protect the police officers from being accused falsely and also from misconduct and any form of abuse towards them. CITATION Ant171 l 1033 (Anthony Braga, James R Coldren, William Sousa, Denise Rodriguez, Omer Alper, 2017)In conclusion Braga, (2017), highlights that body worn cameras will reduce the confrontational situations between police officers and some members of the community. The discussion indicates that when police officers wore body- cameras they reduce the force the used while executing their duties as well as the force used by the respondents by 50%. Also, the recorded footage can be used as hard-video evidence and that it will lead to obtaining accurate victim statements and the right witnesses. In instances where allegations are made the footage from body worn cameras will show the actual occurrences that took place and in return body-worn cameras protect the citizens and the police from unnecessary harm and the use of force.
In the article, “White Coats for Black Lives: Responding to racism and police brutality,” Dorothy Charlse , Kathryn Himmelsten, Walker Keena and Nicholas Baried (2015), the medical professionals join hands with other citizens to protest against racial injustice and police brutality on black- Americans. The main concern raised in the article is the non-indictment of the officers that are responsible for the death of black- Americans in police custody. The white Coats for Black Lives indicate, that as a community that is highly vested in the lives and well-being of the population, medicine is also not immune to the menace which is racial injustice. Racism in the criminal justice system which is the predisposing factor to police brutality, damages the health and the lives of people of color and that there is need to address it as a public health crisis. The medical professionals also define the act as death by legal intervention. The article, applies the well thought through interventions that will help reduce and even eliminate police brutality. In their account, one of the concrete measures to be taken by policy makers is the introduction and utilization of body worn cameras as an intervention to bring to an end police brutality. There is a definite need for stringent and comprehensive measures that will ensure the police are accountable and that the carry out their duties and tasks without discrimination. The recommendation that police officers should use body cameras is supported by the evidence that body cameras have the ability to, and will provide concrete evidence in terms of audio and video recordings of the violent confrontations and incidences. The article therefore demonstrates that body-worn cameras will lead to impartiality and fairness, and in instances where the brutality of the police resulted to death of the victims then the recording from the BWC will give the dead a voice. Transparency and accountability between the police officers and the community will also be increased. There is evidence that the wearing of body cameras reduce the complaints of the community by close to 88% as well as the reported drop in the use of police force by about 66%.
Dorothy Charlse et al, (2015), show that it is also important for the policy makers to formulate guidelines that will promote the effectiveness and the efficient use of body cameras. The laws to be put in place will include the individuals to control the body cameras, how the cameras will be activated and how they will be used. The team sheds light that the success of the body cameras as a strategy to address racial injustice will give the desired results if they are controlled by a third party. The death of black males by legal intervention is still a calamity that the health professionals term as a means where the law enforcement department is hindering the success of black-Americans on other issues such as the mental and the physical health of the population.CITATION Dor l 1033 (Dorothy Charlse, 2015).
Vanessa Williamson et al, (2018), define what the movement Black Lives matter means. It is certainly an organization of people that protest against the death of black people caused by police brutality. The Black Lives Matter activists play a very critical role in organizing the protest that draws the attention of the public as well as the responsible leaders and agencies to the death of black individuals at the hands of the people that ought to protect them, that is, the police officers. The article also sheds light on the broader issues that police brutality on black people stems from. There is an extensive discussion and mention of the broader issues which include police violence and the existence of policies that do not favor a particular race as well as other racial inequalities in health, economic and political power and social matters. CITATION Van181 l 1033 (Vanessa Williamson, 2018).
In the article there is a great advocacy for policy changes. Vanessa, (2018) dictates that it is necessary for the police department to utilize body cameras as well as the independent special prosecutors and that there should be a great transparency in the policies that govern the criminal justice departments. The article demonstrate that there is a dire need for the appropriate measures to be put in place to curb police brutality in localities where the population of there is a high black population. Law enforcement agencies should be given the appropriate training building the capacity around the utilization of body cameras for maximum benefits and which will translate to safe communities and a country that its environment is conducive for each and every individual to safely live in and go about their businesses regardless of their race and skin color. It is also definite that the support from the political sphere of the country is important as it will ensure that the appropriate polices are enacted such as the use of body cameras and that the entire population will live peacefully and satisfied and also feel that the government and the system values their lives.
Pellow, (2016), in the article “Toward a Critical Environmental Justice studies: Black Lives Matter as an Environmental justice Challenge,” demonstrate that the BLM is a social movement that seeks to plead for the grievances of the black people, and most importantly on issues around police brutality. The movement was formed in 2012 after the death of George Zimmerman in Florida. There is also a great correlation between racism and flawed economic, political, social and legal system in the United States. Reforms and the transformation of the system is one that everyone should pay close attention to. The BLM movement also advocates for the inclusion of black Americans in decision making and it will lead to the adoption of important strategies that will protect the lives of the minorities. The strategy being mentioned in this case is the utilization of Body-worn cameras. The black live matter movement challenges the state sanctioned violence. CITATION Dav161 l 1033 (Pellow, 2016).
Monica Anderson, (2018) in the article, “Analysis of Black Lives Matter and other Twitter hashtags related to social and political issues,” identifies that the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter has been on twitter for a long time and also the volume of messages tied to that hashtag on twitter indicate that it is a matter that affects the lives of people and disrupt their normal functioning. The hashtag has been used to respond to real life problems and events and most importantly police brutality. There is a clear indication that the hashtag is tied to political issues and it is used by activist to bring the entire population to terms with what is happening. Some of the issues addressed by the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter include; fatal police-related encounters. The names of those that have lost their lives in police custody are mentioned and justice is sought using the social media platform.CITATION Mon181 l 1033 (Anderson, 2018). The tweets on the hashtag also mentions specific acts of violence used by the law enforcement officers on unarmed black men. The intent of the mention of such is to ensure that the general public understand the mechanisms that some law enforcement personnel that is unlawful and they should speak against such.
Monica Anderson, (2018) reflects that important messages and insights are passed across social media under the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter. She mentions that, the topic on police and law enforcement certainly comes up and the discussion runs around the police enforcement actions and the recommendations that should be considered in order to save the lives of black- people. When the measures to curb police brutality are mentioned, the mounting of body- worn cameras on the police is highlighted. It is also mentions that a lot of information on race and police enforcement take up a good percentage of the tweets on #BlackLivesMatter. In this age where there is a lot of activity on social media and a good number of individuals also participate there the information and the grievances being addressed will get to the right authorities, with the hope that they will act on them appropriately leading to a safe country where every single person is proud to be part of.
Black Lives Matter is an on-going campaign that seeks to address the challenges being faced by black people. The interventions that they advocate for the most is body-worn cameras as highlighted in the articles there is a feeling that the cameras will reap greater success in the fight against police brutality and racial discrimination.
BIBLIOGRAPHY l 1033 Anderson, M., Toor, S., Rainie, L., Smith, A., Anderson, M., Toor, S., & Smith, A. (2018). 2. An analysis of# BlackLivesMatter and other Twitter hashtags related to political or social issues. Pew Research Center.
Braga, A. A., Coldren, J. R., Sousa, W. H., Rodriguez, D., & Alper, O. (2017). The benefits of body-worn cameras: New findings from a randomized controlled trial at the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. Arlington, VA: CNA Analysis & Solutions.
Charles, D., Himmelstein, K., Keenan, W., Barcelo, N., & White Coats for Black Lives National Working Group. (2015). White coats for black lives: medical students responding to racism and police brutality. Journal of urban health, 92(6), 1007-1010.
Pellow, D. N. (2016). Toward a critical environmental justice studies: Black Lives Matter as an environmental justice challenge. Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race, 13(2), 221-236.
Williamson, V., Trump, K. S., & Einstein, K. L. (2018). Black lives matter: evidence that police-caused deaths predict protest activity. Perspectives on Politics, 16(2), 400-415.