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Policing

Body Cameras

To read the full article, click the link:
https://www.einvestigator.com/police-body-cameras-the-pros-and-cons-for-law-enforcement-and-citizens/

In this article, the pros and cons of police officers wearing body cameras are discussed. More and more legislative and police departments across the country have been weighing the pros and cons of body cameras and whether or not they should be included in a police officer’s uniform. The cameras are about the size and length of a cigarette, and can be clipped onto any part of the uniform. The officers would be required to wear the cameras during their shift. A few pros mentioned include: minimization of complaints, increase of officer accountability, video evidence will be provided, and protection from false accusations. A few cons mentioned include: privacy issues, prevention of credible witnesses for fear of retaliation, technological issues regarding the cameras, and the cameras are rather expensive.
There are many pros and cons when talking about body cameras, however, the pros seem to outweigh the cons. I believe this article introduces some very good positive factors that will come from the use of body cameras. Along with this are some excellent cons to rebut the pros. For instance, it would be great if it increased the accountability of officers while decreasing the false accusations, but it could also potentially invade many individuals privacy while doing so. Another thing that seems to weigh heavily on the con side is the cost, and whether or not they are worth the price paid. Given the recent officer involved shootings, racial profiling issues, and other police brutality issues, I would not be surprised if many police departments across America invest in them. I believe this will be a good way to minimize these important issues, and rebuild the trust in the community.

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Body Cameras

To read the full article, click the link:
http://gokicker.com/2014/12/02/body-cameras-police-pros-cons-obamas-plan/

In this article, Jon Vorpe lists the pros and cons of police officers having body cameras. Since the uproar of the Mike Brown case in Ferguson, President Obama announced a $263 million plan to provide body cameras and training to officers throughout the country. The pros that Vorpe listed include: prevention of police abuse in the future, positive results where body cameras are being used, and the building of better trust between law enforcement and the community. The cons that Vorpe listed include: they will be a major invasion of privacy, the uncertainty of officers obeying the policies regarding the body cameras, and this may only be a temporary solution to big issues such as racial profiling and police brutality. Vorpe mentions that both sides contain valid viewpoints on whether or not the body cameras will be effective.
Both the pros and the cons that Vorpe pointed out are all very true, and it will be interesting to see if the body cameras will be effective once placed in the departments. I believe that the pros outweigh the cons in this situation. If the body cameras are able to reduce or stop police brutality or racial profiling then they are absolutely worth it. Also, many communities now have such a poor outlook on law enforcement and like Vorpe, I hope the body cameras will be a way to rebuild that trust. However, the one con that really concerns me is the invasion of privacy. For instance, what happens if an officer arrives at a rape scene or answers a domestic violence call, or even a murder scene? There could potentially be some leaking of information from the video getting out. I would like to see the plan for what happens to the video taken by the body cameras.
In addition, it is sad that it took an incident like the Mike Brown case and the uproar in Ferguson to want to put into effect a plan trying to solve police issues. There are many people who are racially profiled or abused by police and it goes unnoticed but because this case caused so much chaos throughout the country, the president then decides to do something about it.

Police Brutality

To read the full article and watch the video, click the link:
http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Chester-Police-Arrest-Police-Brutality-Allegations–318077191.html

George Spencer and David Chang state in this article that there are new police brutality allegations after a video of an arrest was made public. In Chester, Delaware County Walter Moat was driving in the wrong direction down a wrong way street when he encountered a police officer. During the traffic stop, Moat was taken out of his car, thrown on the ground, beaten, and arrested. At first Moat was resisting arrest, but began complying with the officers’ orders. However, the officers continued to beat Moat by repeatedly punching him, tasing him, and kicking him. One officer claims that Moat had a gun, although, Moat’s friends could not see one. Moat’s friend, Taniece Day, witnessed the beating of her developmentally delayed friend. After watching the video of the incident Matthew Horace, a security expert and former ATF agent, found it very troubling. Horace noticed that Moat was not completely complying at first, but still thought the officers did more than enough to handcuff Moat. Spencer and Chang include that the Chester City Police Commissioner claimed that no one has filed a complaint or requested an investigation be done, however, they plan on reviewing the incident.
There was no reason for Moat to get out of the car, and police should have just ticketed him but instead he was horribly beaten by many officers. Throughout the video you could see him continuously try to get up, but I understand that he just wanted to stop getting beaten. The officers did not look like they wanted to stop either. It is clear that Moat was outnumbered by many police officers that continued to show up. I would like to know if Moat actually had a gun or if a gun was actually recovered at the scene. It is nice to see that the police commissioner is planning on reviewing the encounter, and I look forward to see what is found and done with the officers involved.

Racial Profiling

To read the full article, click the link:
http://www.cbs46.com/story/27726210/officer-accuses-douglasville-police-of-racial-profiling

According to Daniel Wilkerson and Rodney Harris, in this article, a Douglasville police officer has filed a lawsuit against his department accusing them of racial profiling. The officer who filed the lawsuit is Derrick Bailey who states he has been fired two times within a five year span because of speaking out about the racial profiling within the department. Bailey claims that he began to document instances that he noticed and stated that some officers would stop individuals without probable cause. The police department disagrees and claims they provide mandatory profiling training. He was first fired when he spoke up about a shoplifting case at Walmart and the company complained. He was rehired about the department reviewed some cases. Bailey claims that he would hear comments like “let’s go get us some Mexicans” or “he was as black as asphalt.” Even his login name was racially insensitive – it was ‘peccary’ which means ‘black pig.’ This is all mentioned in his lawsuit but the department always has a different answer for these instances.
There is absolutely no reason that any police officer should say, “Let’s go get us some Mexicans.” As a police officer, your job is to protect and serve everyone including minorities. Also, the fact that Bailey was fired twice from the same department, each time after he spoke up about racial profiling, begins to draw some questioning. It takes a lot of guts to stand up to other officers or your supervisor but even more guts to stand up and speak out about the entire department. I believe Wilkerson and Harris did a good job in finding all of the information about these instances and reporting about it while maintaining a neutral stance in the matter. There is always two sides and the truth to a story, and we may never know what the truth of this story is. However, if what Bailey is claiming to happen actually happens then there is something deeply wrong with how that police department is ran.

Racial Profiling

To read the full article, click the link:
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/colorado-springs-police-look-into-video-that-aclu-calls-racial-profiling/
*Note – the video is also on this link.

This article, by the Associated Press, states that the Colorado Springs Police Department is now under investigation after a man recorded his traffic stop. Ryan Brown decided to film the encounter when he and his brother, Benjamin, were pulled over. The officers never told the two men why they had gotten pulled over, even though they were asked several times. Benjamin was placed in handcuffs, patted down, and placed in the cop car while another officer opened Ryan’s door and pulled him out of the vehicle. Benjamin could only watch while his brother was wrestled to the ground at gunpoint. According to American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado (ACLU) legal director, Mark Silverstein, the encounter appeared to be a case of racial profiling. He stated that he could not find a reason as to why the police were handcuffing and searching the Brown boys. In the officer’s report, it stated that the Brown’s were stopped because they were “driving slowly in a high crime area,” even though they were only four houses down from their house. Ryan Brown was ticketed for resisting arrest and interference with a public official, while Benjamin Brown was ticketed for compulsory insurance and obstruction of view.
Anyone who gets pulled over has the right to know why because in order to pull someone over the police must have probable cause. The Brown brothers appeared to have done nothing wrong, and in fact were right for continuously asking why they had gotten pulled over. The Associated Press did a good job in getting all the evidence regarding the stop, which involves the video, the Brown’s word, and the officer’s report, before jumping to conclusions.
After watching the video myself, I would have to agree with the ACLU director in saying that this encounter appears to be racial profiling. The fact that the officer’s claimed they pulled them over because they were driving slowly in a high crime area would be admissible until verifying where the Brown’s lived. The officer’s did not need to place the driver under arrest, nor did they need to pull the passenger out of the car and forcefully wrestle him to the ground.
In my opinion, the Colorado Springs Police Department should not allow these officers to remain on active duty while this situation is under investigation. The only way to try to stop racial profiling is to not tolerate it and punish those who engage in it.

Police Brutality

To read the full article, click the link:
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/breaking-news/os-police-brutality-lawsuit-june-scott-20150406-story.html

In this article, Rene Stutzman states that the Orlando Police Department are having some issues with police brutality. Their latest allegation, filed by June Walker Scott, comes with a $4.5 million federal lawsuit. Scott claims that she was trying to escape from her ex-boyfriend when police showed up, arrested her, and then threw her to the ground, causing her leg to break. Being 5-foot-4, only 110 pounds, and locked in handcuffs, she claims that she posed no threat to the officers. However, in the officers’ report, Scott’s ex-boyfriend was the one being attacked by her. The ex-boyfriend called for help when Scott grabbed a knife and began threatening him with it. The officer also included that they did not recover a knife at the time of arrest and while arresting Scott, did what they had to do to subdue her because she was resisting. Along with the suit against the officers, is a suit against the city that accuses them of turning a blind eye to police brutality incidents. Stutzman states that Scott has a long arrest record and a history of drug abuse, alcohol abuse, and domestic violence. The prosecutors dropped the aggravated assault case against her. Stutzman also includes the recent excessive force complaints filed against other members of the Orlando Police Department, which contain: firing an assault rifle 23 times at a suspect, twice hitting a suspect, punching and kicking a former military police officer, and kneeing an inmate causing the man’s spleen to rupture.
When dealing with a police brutality allegation, it is the officer’s word against the victim’s word, and we may not always get the full story. In this case, however, I think Stutzman does a great job of pointing out that there is something more going on within the Orlando Police Department. She covered the most recent allegation, involving Scott, but also included four more excessive-force incidents that are also currently getting resolved. She also stated that according to the lawsuit, the city had paid $3.3 million since 2012 to victims of excessive-force by an officer. These numbers don’t lie, and it is beginning to appear as though some Orlando police officers may be getting a little power-happy and taking their badge for granted. Allegations like these five are why police officers all across the country are getting a bad name. It takes people like Stutzman to give notice and spread the word to the rest of the community so that hopefully someone will do something about police brutality.

Racial Profiling

To read the full article, click the link:
http://wfla.com/2015/04/30/tampa-police-accused-of-racial-profiling-when-handing-out-bike-tickets/

According to Rod Carter in this article, there might be some questionable bike ticketing within the Tampa Bay area. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) along with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) asked the Tampa Police to stop writing bike citations because African-Americans might be getting treated unfairly. Through an investigation conducted by the local newspaper, African-Americans have received 79 percent of all of the bike citations that were given. Tampa police chief stated that according to the rest of their statistics, only 29 percent of total tickets were given to African-Americans. Due to these figures, the police department decided to do a comprehensive analysis of their stop and ticketing data with the help of the office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) with the goal of identifying whether or not there are racial disparities.
79 percent of all bike citations being given to African Americans sounds a bit extreme. However, what Rod Carter fails to mention is what percentage of the bike users are African Americans. Without the full information, we cannot come to the conclusion that 79 percent is as bad as it sounds. Based on the numbers from the newspaper investigation alone, it does appear as though it is or could be racial profiling, but there is still information missing. Regardless of whether or not it is racial profiling, I am very impressed with the Tampa Police Department and their willingness to fully cooperate with the investigations and wanting to perform an analysis. I cannot imagine getting a racial profiling allegation against myself. I hope the Tampa Bay Police Department will later provide information of what they find through their analysis.

Police Brutality

To read the full article, click the link:  http://www.policeone.com/investigations/articles/8568179-Lawyer-Officer-didnt-target-black-teens-at-Texas-pool/
To watch the video of the incident click the link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6z10jcs4rQ

In this article, David Warren states that a Texas police officer who had pulled his gun on a group of black teenagers was not targeting them. The officer was called to the scene where an African America teenager was threatening to kill herself; the incident was recorded by a bystander. While the officer was dealing with the girl, two African American males had begun to approach the officer. From where the officer stood, the actions of the male individuals indicated that they might have had a weapon on their bodies, so the officer drew his gun for safety. Warren reports that the officer could potentially have charges filed against him. The officer detained the African American girl as well as a white girl, which wasn’t shown in the video. Warren also reports that because of incident, the officer has received multiple death threats that caused him and his family to move to an unidentified location. The article states that the officer was a “dedicated and decorated officer.” Even though he had created that persona for himself, this persona had all but vanished when he responded to the call, which ended up costing him his job.
“He also detained a white female, who you do not see on the video,” – why was it not seen in the video, or better yet, why is no one mad about the white female being detained? Warren did a good job in presenting all of the facts of this incident, because the quoted stated above could have easily been left out. It is clear that the officer was just trying to help the African American girl, who had threatened to kill herself. He obviously felt harmed when the two males began to approach him, so he drew his gun. As soon as he realized the two men did not pose a threat, he put his weapon away. This incident is over emphasized by the media as police brutality, however, in this article Warren does a good job steering away from labeling it as such. The officer could have handled the situation differently, but he was just trying to do his job and protect the individuals at the scene. Ultimately, it all boils down to viewer’s perspective of what happened. I also believe that it should not have escalated to the point where he resign from his job or receive death threats that caused him to move. Also, the teenagers could have better complied with the officer’s commands. This incident shows the disrespect that some individuals have for officers.

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