As shield, which represents the city and

As a police officer picks up their shield, which
represents the city and people they took an oath to defend, they know that
anything can happen. They can be put in impossible situations and have to make
split second decisions. There are those who believe those decisions are always
right or always wrong and those who believe that those decisions require the
utmost review and respect. In accordance with those who believe a strict review
is necessary, it is unquestionably clear that police body cameras are essential
to the survival and security of civil rights. Body-worn video (BWV) is seen internationally
as having the potential to reduce public complaints against police, police use
of force, and attrition of prosecutions due to lack of physical evidence
(Drover). In turn, police body-worn cameras have the capability to establish
justice and secure civil rights among both police officers and civilians.

            Of
course there are downsides to the implementing of police body-worn cameras such
as the cost. Many people believe it is a waste of time, a waste of money, and
should not be the first priority of the United States. However, public safety
is vital for any country to succeed. A wise man once said, “The primary purpose
of government is to protect the lives and properties of its citizens”
(Federico). There are many forms of protection that the U.S. government provides
its citizens, arguably the most famous being the police force. The members of
the police force have taken an oath to uphold the responsibility of protecting
the lives and properties of United States citizens. An oath is a solemn pledge
individuals make when they sincerely intend to do what is said. “On my honor, I
will never betray my badge, my integrity, my character or the public trust. I
will always have the courage to hold myself and others accountable for our
actions. I will always uphold the constitution, my community, and the agency I
serve.” A public affirmation of adhering to an Oath of Honor is a powerful
vehicle demonstrating ethical standards (“Oath of Honor”). For this oath to
hold truth, it is vital for there to be concrete evidence that provides for
proper accountability and initiative for police officers to perform just
actions. Police body-worn cameras can provide these features, making the United
States of America a safer and happier place to live.

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Chapter
I: Concrete Evidence and Accountability

            One
great benefit that police body-worn cameras have on civil rights is their role
in preventing falsities told by either an officer or civilian. A police officer
who has been the subject of spoken false allegations may have an action for
slander (Reinhart). The police officer, even if they haven’t done the crime,
are still effected greatly by slander. Their reputation can be tarnished and
even destroyed. If someone was accused of rape, for example, the way people
view them would drastically change. Chris, a falsely accused rapist said, “I am tarnished, shamed and alienated. And I
cannot describe how it feels to have had my country do this to me in such a
cold blooded way. My hands still feel tied, and I am humiliated amongst my
community – whilst the person who accused me is still walking the streets like
a sorry victim, telling people that I have raped others. And this is all down
to the system itself” (Wells). The idea that anyone’s life can suddenly
change for the worst all because of what someone said is a scary thought.
Police body-worn cameras, however, can be the key. The cameras depict the
actions and words of the police officer, the actions and words of the
civilians, the environment, and the circumstances. With this information at
hand, the possibility of someone being falsely accused of something which can
ruin their life critically decreases. Therefore, justice and civil rights can
show their presence in many more, if not all cases which should be the ultimate
goal of the United States’ criminal justice system.

            It
is only right and just that people are accountable for their actions. In
Galations 6:7, its stated, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever
a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (BibleGateway). This basically means
that whatever you choose to do in your life, whether it be positive or
negative, you will receive the same. You get what you give and, therefore, the
United States government should provide accountability to those in the police
force as well as citizens. Police body cameras can serve as the catalyst
providing for proper and just accountability in America. In many instances,
police officers are accused of crimes and do not receive a punishment that is
fit for their actions. Police body cameras can provide concrete evidence and
contain much more information than just what is heard. Hear-say is a very
unreliable source. The plaintiff will tell their story in favor of them and
vice versa for the defendant. Instead of considering those testimonial
capacities for which there are circumstantial guarantees of trustworthiness,
one should focus upon those capacities for which there are not such guarantees.
For example, the current approach allows a hearsay exception for excited
utterances because of their alleged sincerity (“The Theoretical Foundation of
the Hearsay Rule”).The validity of a statement should be based off of the facts
and not the emotions that the speaker gives off.. With hard evidence from video
and audio proof, hear-say is eliminated and the jury can rule based off of what
they see and not just what the parties in the case say. Talk is cheap and is
not dependable, contrary to video proof. With hard proof at hand in court
cases, police cameras also have a vital role in modifying the behavioral
actions of police officers, as they are being surveilled by their superior
powers.

Chapter
II: Improvement in Officer Morale

            Police body cameras are greatly beneficial in its
influence on police officer morale. In any case, not just with officers, people
who are being watched tend to alter their behavior. This trend is constantly present in the world around us. For
example, if an employee of a company is working and their boss walks into the
room, their work ethic and attitude may show a sudden change. If a potential
thief notices a camera, they may end their plans of theft. Similarly, Officers and civilians alike should behave better
when they know their behavior is being recorded, reducing the number of violent
interactions between officers and civilians (Doleac). This ideology is
fundamental in human psychology and behavior. Ron Miller, Chief of Police of
the Topeka Police Department, stated, “Everyone is on their best behavior when
the cameras are running. The officers, the public—everyone.” Just as long as
the subjects don’t have the desire to live their lives unemployed, imprisoned,
or dead, their attitudes will change. This claim is only valid if one critical
factor is present in the situation.

            In order for this modification of behavior to occur,
there must be a consequence for performed actions in the first place. An
employee may change their work ethic when the boss arrives to avoid being
reprimanded or maybe fired for inappropriate behavior. A thief may relinquish
their plan to avoid the camera catching them in an illegal act and being
imprisoned. Likewise, in cases where officers use unjust force or abuse, those
officers can be quickly disciplined, fired, or convicted of crimes, which, in
turn, prevents them from performing further abuse. In all of these cases, there
is a consequence for the actions of the subject, forcing them to rethink their
actions that might cause a negative consequence. However, the criminal justice
system in America is not that just when it comes to police officers,
government-run, public servants. “Those officers sentenced served an average 14
months in prison, far less than citizens for the same crime.” Many times, if an
officer is proven to have done something illegal or unjust, they receive
nothing more than a “slap on the wrist.” Ugly incidents will not diminish until
ranking officers know they will be held responsible for what happens in their
sector, whether or not they personally participate (Casey-Maselyn). The
criminal justice system when it comes to law enforcement dilutes the
consequential aspect that prevents officers from performing evil actions.

            Nevertheless, there has been evidence that body-worn
cameras do, in fact, improve the behavior of police officers. An experiment was
conducted testing the behavior of officers who wore BWCs (body-worn cameras)
vs. the behavior of officers who didn’t. The study found that comparisons
within groups demonstrated that the reduction in the prevalence of R2R
(response-to-resistance) incidents (53.4% reduction) and external complaints
(65.4% reduction) were statistically significant for the officers who wore the
BWCs, and significant reductions in the frequency of these outcomes were
detected as well (“Evaluating the Impact of Police Officer Body-Worn Cameras”).
These tests that have been conducted on the Orlando Police Department provides
proof that police body-worn cameras are already working in those police
departments that are using them. Therefore, police cameras should be used
universally among all departments in the United States. Then, justice among
police in America will prevail over the horrible police brutality.

Chapter
III: Black Lives Matter and Police Brutality

            Black Lives Matter claims they affirm their humanity,
their contributions to this society, and their resilience in the face of deadly
oppression as suggested by their webpage. They supposedly want to end the fear
of law enforcement that African Americans have in America. As outlined in the
First Amendment, “Congress shall make no
law abridging the freedom
of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people
peaceably to assemble” (Winston). This statement essentially means that
Congress cannot intervene on peaceful protest which is a constitutional and
moral idea. Martin Luther King Jr., a very notable civil rights activist for
African Americans, strongly believed in peaceful protest and solving problems
through peace and discussion. However, contrary to what they claim,
the Black Lives Matter Movement is anything but peaceful. The majority of their
protests are extremely violent and its seems that their prime motive as a
movement is to instill fear, mostly in police officers. For example, a gunman
in Dallas opened fire on police at the end of a Black Lives Matter
demonstration, killing five officers and wounding several others. Micah
Johnson, the shooter, told a hostage negotiator that he was angry on behalf of
Black Lives Matter and “wanted to kill white people, especially police
officers” (Tuttle). Another example is when protesters blocked the Las Vegas
Strip demanding justice for Tashii Farmer, 40, who died in police custody after
an incident at the Venetian hotel on May 14 (“Violence Erupts During Vegas
Black Lives Matter Protest, 10 Arrested.”). These actions committed in the name
of “Black Lives Matter” have been full of violence and uproar in order to get
attention, conflicting with the arguable founder of African American civil
rights, Martin King Jr., and the United States Constitution itself. For this
reason, the acts of the Black Lives Matters Movement have caught the eyes of
the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation).

            In a set of emails from July 2016 reveal how the FBI may
use specific language to justify data collection and monitoring, specifically
in the case of Black Lives Matter. While BLM demonstrations are protected by
the First Amendment, the emails said that based on known intelligence and/or
specific, historical observations, it is possible the protected activity could
invite a violent reaction towards the subject individuals or groups, or the
activity could be used as a means to target law enforcement” (Vohra). If police
body-worn cameras are implemented and required for all police officers there
would be an increase in concrete evidence and the improvement in officer morale,
decreasing the rate and severity of police brutality. In turn, movements such
as Black Lives Matter are also expected to decrease in their rate of violent
protests.

            It is more than possible for the Federal Bureau of
Investigation to pick up on enough information to convict the Black Lives
Matter Movement of inciting violence and preventing them from executing more
violent protests. However, a huge part of the problem will be left unsolved.
The members of Black Lives Matter will still be angry with the actions of
police officers and continue to show their hatred and maybe even a continuation
of violence against the police. Now on the other hand, if the root of the
problem is solved with police body-worn cameras and the actions of the police
officers were changed, the Black Lives Matter Movement wouldn’t feel the need
to express violence and hatred towards law enforcement. This establishes a cooperative
settlement between police officers and civilians. The police officers are acting
justly and the civilians are safe and in support of the actions of law enforcement.
Of course there will always be disagreement, which is necessary and important. When
a group of persons who respect each other’s opinions arrives at a unanimous
view, each member is likely to feel that the belief must be true.   This reliance on consensual validation
within the group tends to replace individual critical thinking and reality
testing (Janis)

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