Target: United States Department of Justice Attorney General Eric Holder
Goal: Urge police departments to require personal video recording devices
With the advent of smart phones and MP3 players capable of recording video, police brutality has been revealed on an unprecedented level. From reports of data loss—including video wiped from confiscated phones—to uploaded videos showing misconduct, public scrutiny of police procedures has intensified. But cover-ups continue to happen, as do technical mishaps that may remove damning footage or evidence. Demand that the Justice Department implement nationwide on-body cameras for police officers.
So far, recording police is legal in thirty-eight states, but incidences of police harassment toward those who record them is well documented. Some have even been arrested on trumped-up charges, and recorded data has gone missing or been deleted. Even if these cases are sporadic, there is a clear need for greater accountability.
Police brutality should never go unaddressed or unpunished, but when recalcitrant officers are protected by their own comrades, there is no justice for victims of misconduct or brutality. Police are subject to the same laws and must be held to the same standards. They are given power to carry out the law, but they must be held accountable when they abuse this power or attempt to supersede justice in favor of protecting themselves or colleagues.
Requiring police to wear on-body cameras when on the job is one of the best means to combat misconduct. These devices would protect officers and the public alike, and save taxpayers the cost of litigation. On-body cameras would also provide evidence for both sides when accounts of behavior clash and increase accountability for officers who engage in misconduct or attempt to wipe video evidence from personal electronics.
Los Angeles and New York have begun to implement on-body cameras that have proved invaluable as evidence in court. A nationwide requirement would be a tremendous step forward in cracking down on police abuse, and would change policing for the better. We must protect our citizens, both police and the public, and take all necessary steps to ensure justice in the face of false claims, abuse, or misconduct.
Dear Attorney General Eric Holder,
Police misconduct and brutality have come under greater scrutiny in recent years, thanks in part to the recording capabilities of smart phones and music players. However, this viable information often goes missing, or is deleted from confiscated electronics. Such actions on part of the police are completely unjustifiable, robbing the public of the ability to bring misconduct to light and covering up incidents of police abuse.
I therefore ask the Justice Department to institute a nationwide requirement for police officers to wear on-body cameras that cannot be switched off when on duty. Several cities have already begun to institute the practice, which provides valuable evidence in court and protects both the public and police from false claims. On-body cameras would force greater accountability among police officers, address the issues of destruction of recorded evidence or internal cover-ups, and protect the public from injustice.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Socrate76 via Wikimedia Commons