shared this story
from Photography is Not a Crime: PINAC.
If you spend any time following police accountability pages on Facebook, you’ve probably come across the viral meme about how use of force incidents dropped 60 percent within the Rialto Police Department after they issued body-mounted cameras to their officers.
The meme is based on a study conducted by Rialto Police Chief Tony Farrar as part of his master’s dissertation at Cambridge University’s Institute of Criminology – in collaboration with Taser, Inc. which sells the cameras – that has been highlighted in numerous articles as proof that body-mounted cameras not only lead to a reduction in use of force incidents, but also in a reduction in citizen complaints against police.
The meme is rarely challenged because logic tells us humans would be on their best behavior knowing they are being video recorded.
However, that logic falls apart if we take a look at the Albuquerque Police Department which introduced body-mounted cameras in 2010 – one of the first departments in the country to do so – only to continue to see an unsettling number of violent incidents against citizens.
They killed so many citizens since introducing the cameras that the United States Department of Justice launched an investigation in late 2012 in 2012, citing an unusually high number of incidents resulting in “excessive force, including use of unreasonable deadly force, in their encounters with civilians.”
But even the USDOJ investigation, launched around the time the Rialto Police Department issued cameras to its officers, did nothing to curb the aggressiveness because cops continued killing citizens, not in the least bit swayed by the pending investigation.
Just last week, they killed another man, a homeless man who was camping illegally in the Albuquerque foothills in an incident caught on an officer’s helmet cam after they claimed he pulled out a knife, although it is obviously he was in no position to use it on the officers.
While Albuquerque Police Chief Gordon Eden justified the shooting, citing the suspect’s long criminal history without acknowledging his long mental health problems, he did not say much about the officer who pulled the trigger, Keith Sandy, who had been fired from the New Mexico State Police for fraud in 2007.
And last month, Albuquerque police finally released footage from a body-mounted camera from an officer-involved shooting that contradicted everything they said in the original criminal complaint filed in court last October. Note towards the end of the video how they …read more