“Michael Brown’s family, on the night of the Ferguson grand jury decision, called for all police in the United States to wear body cameras.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, in announcing that some of New York’s police officers would begin wearing them, said “body cameras are one of the ways to create a real sense of transparency and accountability.”
And on Monday, President Obama said he would request $75 million in federal funds to distribute 50,000 body cameras to police departments nationwide, saying they would improve police relations with the public.
But even as departments have started adopting the technology, questions remain about how much it can actually prevent violent encounters with citizens or clarify the boundaries of appropriate police response.
No consensus has emerged about when officers should turn on their cameras, which could leave departments open to accusations of selective recording. And tapes do not always lead to universally shared conclusions. The footage of Eric Garner’s death this year on Staten Island and of Rodney G. King’s beating by Los Angeles officers in 1991 ultimately revealed the shortcomings of video as evidence, even as they thrust violence against unarmed black men into the public eye.”