Social justice is in constant need of adjustment. Police body-cameras used to be considered a no-brainer for the Left. Police resistance was predictable, but the practice has become widespread. Now that the Left has had a look at the results, it people are having second thoughts:
Because an officer’s memory of an event may be altered by watching body camera footage, doing so will likely alter what officers write in their reports. That, in turn, can make it more difficult for investigators or courts to assess whether the officer’s actions were reasonable based on what he or she perceived at the time of the incident, states the report, “The Illusion of Accuracy: How Body-Worn Camera Footage Can Distort Evidence.”
Bold added. Cops can’t be as easily framed with “implicit bias”.
Body-cams give police a chance to correct their own memory and, presumably, get their stories straight:
The vast majority of the nation’s biggest police departments allow officers to watch footage from body cameras whenever they want, including before they write their incident reports or make statements, said the report, which was released Tuesday by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
“Unrestricted footage review places civil rights at risk and undermines the goals of transparency and accountability,” said Vanita Gupta, former head of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and current head of the Leadership Conference, in the report’s introduction.
The problem as activists see it is officers reviewing footage won’t be tempted to make claims they can’t back up. The referenced report cites an incident where a security video near an arrest revealed police beating a suspect where the cop’s vest-cam that only indicated a struggle, backing up officers’ claims. But here the cops allowed to review footage were actually tempted, if anything, to lie. Had they not known, perhaps they would have come clean. I’m not sure this is what bothers activists–unless it’s in recognition it can only depress the numbers of successful prosecutions of cops.
Just as cops, if allowed, would control any and all footage, releasing only that which helps them, their critics would ultimately take the footage entirely out of the hands of police; cops would have no access at all.
The inevitable result of unchecked Leftist power would (will?) result in police having no access to their own body-cam footage; it would be entirely surveillance. Letting my imagination go I envision political officers, affirmative action hires out of the hood, monitoring cops in real time. Maybe administering an occasional shock.
That the same video is available to prosecutors and internal investigators undermines the activist stated argument. What does it mean that they feel undermined by a cop’s opportunity to check his memory against video?
The only valid point I can see to the objection to police access to their own video is that cops reviewing such can see what they can get away with. It makes them more formidable in the spy v spy game of criminal v social justice.
If I was a police officer, of course, I would tell the Left: you wear the body cam on the street, then you can control what it records. Fair?