Watched Cops Are Polite Cops
Requiring law enforcement to wear video cameras will protect your constitutional rights and improve policing.
This summer, after a civil suit challenged the New York City Police Department’s notorious program of patting down “suspicious” residents, Judge [*****] of the Federal District Court in Manhattan imposed an experiment in which cops in precincts with the highest reported rates of stop-and-frisk activity would be required to wear video cameras for a year.
This is a really good idea.
Small cameras such as the AXON Flex from Taser International can attach to an officer’s sunglasses, hat, or uniform. Earlier this year, a 12-month study by Cambridge University researchers revealed that when the city of Rialto, California, required its cops to wear cameras, the number of complaints filed against officers fell by 88 percent and the use of force by officers dropped by almost 60 percent. Watched cops are polite cops.
In addition, research suggests that Judge [*****] has made the right call; requiring officers to wear video cameras will help protect citizens’ Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure.
For example, a 2004 study in Criminology and Public Policy by criminologists Stephen Mastrofski from George Mason University and Jonathan Gould from American University evaluated direct observations of police searches in a medium-sized American city. They conservatively estimated that nearly one-third of police searches were performed unconstitutionally and almost none of those unconstitutional searches came to the attention of the courts.
Jay Stanley, a policy analyst with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), calls police-worn video cameras “a win/win for both the public and the police.” Win/win because video recordings help shield officers from false accusations of abuse as well as protecting the public against police misconduct.
While I agree with the overall point, I don’t think that the cop cams and SQF are necessarily related. They’re two separate issues.
I suppose someone wants us to think that if all the cops on the NYPD wore cams, that this would expose the “racism” of SQF. First off, cameras can’t read the minds of the cops they’re attached to, and for another, the NYPD already collects race statistics of those who are accosted using SQF grounds. All I need to know is that the percentage of blacks and Hispanics that have been SQFed matches pretty well with the percentage of homicides and most violent crimes that blacks and Hispanics commit in New York as a percentage of the whole. If there is a disparity, the NYPD SQFs a few more whites and Asians than they really need to, to try to keep the civil rights vultures at bay, and they have admitted that point blank.
Of course, with the oil driller coming in as mayor, it’s all a moot point anyway because he’s going to end SQF the first moment he can.
Five, six, seven, eight…