OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma. Officers have faced increased public scrutiny as more police face allegations of misconduct, improper stops, and improper arrests. One solution to the problem has been to equip officers with body cameras. But, do body cameras really protect the public? Body cameras seemed to offer the promise that police would be protected from false claims of wrongdoing. The public would also be protected from officers who engage in police brutality or those who try to perform a search without proper cause.
However, according to the Atlantic, while cameras reduce the number of complaints against the police, they may not protect individuals from aggressive or illegal policing tactics. In fact, according to the Atlantic, body cameras may actually be giving the police more power, not less.
Officers may not always activate their body cameras when they should. In some districts, officers are required to turn their cameras on when another officer shoots. However, in many critical cases that have reached the mainstream news, officers failed to turn on their cameras. In some cases officers may not follow protocol. Unfortunately, there aren’t often repercussions when officers break protocol.
Furthermore, some states are limiting public access to body cameras footage, meaning that a judge has to decide to release the footage. Body cameras also create privacy concerns. Police are not the ones being filmed when the cameras are turned on. Suspects and the general public are being filmed. Officers are also permitted to view footage before filing a police report, giving officers an advantage over the narrative. A person with a recording will have more details about events than a person relying only on memory.
A New York Times report also shows ways in which body cameras can distort the facts. When sound is silenced on the cameras, the intensity of an interaction can seem higher than it is. In fact, benign encounters can appear to pose a risk to an officer’s safety. Furthermore, when we look at something from a certain perspective, we tend to privilege that perspective. This means that officers gain the privileged perspective, one which can distort reality. Having a qualified criminal defense lawyer like the Henson Law Firm, P.L.L.C. in Oklahoma City may be able to help you protect your rights.
While body cameras can capture dangerous of deadly use of force, they also provide officers with an immense advantage when policing the public. Individuals who are facing criminal charges are wise to speak to a criminal defense lawyer in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Visit www.myoklahomadefenselawyer.com to learn more.