Don’t Fall for the Police Body Camera Deception

SRPCopCamsjpgBy Derrick Broze

In the last two years the United States has seen a much-needed resurgence of discussion on police violence and abuse of power. The Internet, cellphone camera, and various apps have made it very easy to cop watch and catch corruption on camera. There are millions of videos online that depict unnecessary police aggression and outright murder.

Once police brutality became a national discussion the topic of the Police State itself was a concern. Many people have recognized that the government itself, through the federal 1033 program, has funneled military weapons and equipment to your local police department. In response to this a number of solutions have been proposed. One of the most common suggestions is to implement some type of body camera program. The idea is that police officers will wear cameras that record their interactions with civilians reducing the likelihood of violence and abuse of power.

Whether or not these cameras actually reduce violence remains to be seen but we can draw a few conclusions immediately.

For one, there have been a number of accounts of police officers turning their cameras off, or the cameras somehow accidentally turning off during incidents of violence. If the police can turn the cameras off without oversight then there seems little reason to have the cameras in the first place. If cameras are to be used, some system must be worked out so the camera does not record an officer using the restroom but does not turn off during interactions with the public. So far no such system has been put in place.

Another disturbing point was recently made by the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU discusses a recent article from The Washington Post that described how police in Fresno, California had a Real Time Crime Center which issued threat scores for citizens based on a number of factors. The ACLU writes:

But one other part of Fresno’s vision for the center caught my eye. According to the Post, the city hopes “to add 400 more streams from cameras worn on officers’ bodies.”

Body camera video should NOT be used in systems that live-stream video to centralized monitoring stations and allow police management to activate and monitor any given officer’s camera at will. That is not the right balance between privacy and oversight and practicality. Body cameras are there to provide evidence and accountability in disputed circumstances, not to help furnish police departments with all-seeing views of American cities and towns.

The ACLU says body cameras should serve as an independent record “not to feed video to centralized panoptic surveillance centers”.

One could also make the argument that body cameras will allow a false sense of security or achievement. As if the fight against police violence and abuse was about getting police to wear cameras and not ending the systematic violence inflicted by the police force as we know them today. The goal should not be reformism but the complete eradication of systematic violence and the public acceptance of such violence. By creating and promoting alternatives to traditional policing we can create something much more powerful, and responsible to our communities.

We have to go further than body cameras and remove ourselves from the system of taxation that allows the police, who are themselves the enforcement arm of the State, to continue to function and thrive despite continuing to abuse and violate the people they are sworn to protect. We can remove ourselves from this Matrix and build a better world that is not based on theft and violence. We can create a world where the police as we know them today are no longer necessary.

Derrick Broze is an investigative journalist, community activist, gardener and promoter from Houston, Texas. He is the co-founder of The Houston Free Thinkers, and co-host of Free Thinker Radio. Broze also hosts and produces a weekly podcast under the name the Conscious Resistance Live. His writing can be found on,  Activist Post, and other independent media sources.

Also Read: 5 Reasons Police Body Cameras Are a Terrible Idea

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11 Comments on "Don’t Fall for the Police Body Camera Deception"

  1. Body cameras are a GOOD idea.

    • A good idea for whom? If they can be turned off by the uniform wearing it, or the video feed erased “by accident,” what’s the point? If their purported purpose is to protect the public from brutality or abuse, why are citizens arrested for making videos of such crimes? The mega telecommunications corporations have done a great job of making sure everyone on the planet has a hand-held camera phone, but those videos never seem to make it into a court of law. No, the real intended purpose of CopVid is to provide evidence in favor of the uniform should an abuse or homocide case actually get into a court, all evidence showing otherwise can be erased.

      None of this rings your warning bells?

      • Indeed it does – the same ones as you hear. But I still think video is a good idea – given that turning them off during a (subsequently contested) situation is made to result in immediate expulsion from the force.

  2. Body cameras don’t seem to help at all. I constantly see videos of police executing citizens in cold blood. The cops get paid leave while the legal system grinds slowly to no convictions. Meanwhile more cops murder more citizens, making it nearly impossible to even tell if anyone was ever convicted, ever fired. It’s a good old boys network, and we ain’t one of the boys

  3. shat, the coppers are using extra-judicial assets (criminal scum) to do their dirty work, and they don’t wear body cameras.

  4. It’s a red herring. Distraction of ridiculous proportion. Stop sending police over to Israel for ‘training’. Reign in the corrupted unions, and prosecute each and every cop that violates anybody the way someone would be prosecuted if the tables were turned.

  5. I am going to take the cop’s side since I was one many years ago. People need to think long and hard about crippling the police in their daily and nightly work. Most of you have no idea what kind of people are out there;…you just think you do. It sounds clichéd but that ‘thin blue line’ is all that keep you and yours safe at night. The criminal element and the hate has doubled and tripled to a point that is hard to describe. Strong men with guns keep you from having to set up all night with your gun staring out your door to protect your families. We worked shift work when I was a cop. I would come in to my home around midnight after the evening shift and see my wife and children safely asleep in bed and think to myself; ‘what a difference from where I just came from. I may have just came off of a scene where children were crying, people were bleeding, and parents were crying over a dead child. All of that pain was just maybe 8 blocks away (as the crow flies) and because of the police….(other shifts) I am standing in my home and safe and my children and wife are also. Same goes for you and yours. Yes….I know some cops are bullies and some may be trigger-happy but those are few and you only hear about them when they make an overbearing move that gets them on the news. The great majority of the police are just like you and I. Most police work 30 years without having to fire their gun and half of them never have to unholster their gun. It depends on where your beat is. I worked as a cop for only 4 years and then went to another job for more money. In those 4 years I pulled my gun twice and was in one shoot out but I was with other cops. It was a long story but we were in the right and the person who we were in a shoot out with lived and went to jail. I will not bore you with the details but I want to emphasize that you must let the police do their job. They already have so many restraints that they can hardly do it now. Many just quit and then you get the ‘faulty ones’ to replace them. Police work is a rough job and a policeman knows when he is not appreciated. Get off the police. They keep you alive whether you know it or not. I know you think you could do the job….then do it. See if you can chase people down, fight people bigger and stronger than you, are have shoot outs in the dark Let the police do their job because they keep the ghouls away from your door.

    • Except you just admitted that sometimes the ghouls are the cops themselves, you just called them “faulty” instead. Your argument only has merit if a cop who shoots someone receives a fair trial just like anyone else, and not a “paid vacation until the media uproar dies down.” Cops are not held to the same laws as the rest of society because they are rigorously protected by the very agency entrusted to uphold the law equally to all. That creates dissension and mistrust, which is why people are arming themselves and taking responsibility for their own protection. You can’t have it both ways and expect the public, who pays your salary for protection, to just let you “do your job” without allowing them to keep an eye out for the faulty ghouls who lie protected in your ranks.

  6. Way better. I did not understand you were making a suggestion, I thought you were citing actual fact. However, the cop could easily argue that the camera malfunctioned. They get away with this kind of “lost evidence” excuse all the time. This excuse has even worked for Hillary numerous times, Travelgate for one. It’s SOP for all persons given authority without responsibility.

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