Are body cameras a solution or a red herring?
Since the civil uprising that began in Ferguson, MO, last summer, police body cameras have been promoted by some policymakers as a police accountability solution. In the name of transparency, local police departments in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Minneapolis and Washington, DC, as well as in smaller cities like Ferguson, have started (or announced plans to start) pilot programs issuing body cameras to police officers.
But body cameras are not the solution to police violence. In fact, police body cameras could lead more people to jails and prisons, by enabling police to monitor (and introduce new camera evidence against) individuals who otherwise would not be suspected of any crime. The Fourth Amendment implications are clear: police cameras would subject us to living under constant surveillance, never knowing when something we say or do will land us in police custody.
Moreover, calls for body cameras obscure other measures that could actually bring transparency to police practices, like a right of civilian observation and police data collection about the impacts of investigatory activities. Contact BORDC if you need help getting involved and raising your voice.
Read the latest news and analysis from the People’s Blog for the Constitution
Have you read BORDC’s blog lately? The People’s Blog for the Constitution has attracted a growing audience. Featuring news and analysis beyond the headlines on a daily basis, it offers a great way to stay up to date and informed.
- Police Violence? Body Cams Are No Solution by Shahid Buttar
- An unjust order is no order by Elizabeth C. Lesher
- A demand for grand jury reform by Karen Clark
- Bush, Obama and the CIA’s Torture by Fasharra Branagan
- How did we get here? by Christina Murray
To get involved in any of these campaigns, please email the BORDC Organizing Team at organizing (at) bordc (dot) org. We’re eager to hear from you and help support your activism!
- Honor True Patriots: Ruth Jeannoel from Miami, FL
- Americans took action to close Gitmo and end torture
- #Dream4Justice March in Honor of Dr. King in NYC
- Charlotte City Council endorses policy to limit racial profiling and police surveillance
- Rally to close Guantánamo brought together activists in Washington, DC
- Activists in Chicago took action to stop torture
- Concerned Berkeley residents use ‘Black Brunch‘ tactics to highlight police abuses
- Activists in LA marched to challenge police violence
- Coalition members attended commission hearing to oppose police body cameras in Los Angeles
BORDC in the news
BORDC promotes concerns about the constitutional crisis—and grassroots activisim challenging the national security state—through new media such as Twitter and Facebook, as well as traditional media including print, online, radio, and television. Check out our latest appearances:
- January 6:BORDC Executive Director Shahid Buttar’s piece Police Violenece? Body Cams Are No Solution was published on Truth Out
- January 8: On Breaking the Set, Shahid joined Abby Martin to discuss police body cameras and NYPD slowdown
- January 14: Shahid was featured on Black Agenda Radio to warn against the use of police body cameras
- January 21: On Breaking the Set, Shahid joined Abby Martin to discuss race relations and the impact of Ferguson protests on national policy
- January 23: Shahid was interviewed for an article in the Washington Post regarding his poetry reading at the event “Orwellian America: Government Transparency and Personal Privacy in the Digital Age”
New Resources and Opportunities
To help encourage outreach, public education, and grassroots mobilization, BORDC has provided microgrants to grassroots coalitions pursuing local campaigns to advance civil rights and civil liberties. Grants up to $500 are available to help active coalitions expand their local visibility, and/or host events. To apply for a grant, please email the BORDC Organizing Team at organizing (at) bordc (dot) org.