Police body cameras hold the promise of accountability, but carry the risk of becoming another tool of surveillance aimed at communities that are already heavily over-policed and heavily surveilled. Defending Rights & Dissent has created guidelines governing the use of police body cameras and the videos they produce.
The people have the right to film the police under the First Amendment, but police do not always respect this right. Police are prohibited from destroying devices or images by both the 14th Amendment’s due process clause and the 4th Amendment’s warrant requirement. The Local Civil Rights Restoration Act provides model language to protect the right to film the police.
Militarization of American police forces is becoming more and more common and, as a result of digital-age technologies and the use of smaller-scale surveillance cameras both publicly and privately, many people living in the United States today believe they have no privacy and, indeed, no right to expect privacy. They are misinformed.
The LASD is one the most militarized police departments in the world using massive amount of tactical weapons, and human and electronic surveillance technology. The addition of Drones would further signify the structural and operational formation of LASD as an occupying institution that operates as a counter-insurgency force.
The NYPD’s newly released body camera policy fails New Yorkers and police transparency – it won’t help address police brutality, abuses and unjust killings of New Yorkers.
Sessions has a long and documented history of opposing the rights of vulnerable populations, disregarding the First Amendment, and championing torture. As Attorney General, Sessions would be head of the department in charge of overseeing the protections of civil rights and the most powerful law enforcement in the nation. Given his historic hostility to civil liberties this is unacceptable. Sessions was rightfully rejected as a judicial nomination and should be similarly rejected for Attorney General.
In January, the Baltimore Police Department began a months-long partnership with an Ohio-based private company known as Persistent Surveillance Systems. Persistent Surveillance was hired to conduct hundreds of hours of aerial surveillance over the city of Baltimore using specialized cameras mounted to a Cessna that patrolled 32 square miles of the city.