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posted by n1 on Thursday August 28 2014, @11:55AM   Printer-friendly
from the it-wasn't-me dept.

David Kravets writes that US Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) says police departments nationwide should require their officers to wear body cameras in order to qualify for the hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding they receive each year. "Everywhere I go, people now have cameras," said McCaskill during a question-and-answer session with voters in her home state of Missouri. "And police officers are now at a disadvantage because someone can tape the last part of an encounter and not tape the first part of the encounter. And it gives the impression that the police officer has overreacted when they haven't."

Only a small number of US police departments have outfitted their officers with body cameras, including forces in Fresno, California; Oakland; Rialto, California; Pittsburgh; Salt Lake City; and Cincinnati. A recent study with the Rialto Police Department showed that use-of-force incidents and citizen complaints have been dramatically curtailed since the department began wearing body cams [PDF].

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  • (Score: 2) by wonkey_monkey on Thursday August 28 2014, @03:43PM

    by wonkey_monkey (279) on Thursday August 28 2014, @03:43PM (#86764) Homepage

    If it's true that police violence doesn't stem from overreaction, why the drop in use of force?

    Possibly because members of the public are (on average) less likely to be violent in the first place when they realise everything's being recorded.

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  • (Score: 2) by DrMag on Thursday August 28 2014, @05:07PM

    by DrMag (1860) on Thursday August 28 2014, @05:07PM (#86818)

    That's a fair point, and does reveal my false dichotomy. However, I do suspect that those who are most likely to be subjugated to violence by police are among the less likely to be aware that the cameras are present. The police, on the other hand, will be most likely to be aware as the cameras are still a new and uncomfortable thing for them.