When the Police Need to be Policed

Nia Ramsey, Rants Editor

Police brutality has become a very talked about issue in the recent months, after several protests led to police using controversial methods to crowd control. The protests were the effect of the cases of unarmed, black men being killed at the hands of police. In the case of Michael Brown, people have been questioning the severity of the police officer, Darren Wilson, who killed him after an altercation. Protests have sparked in Ferguson, where the shooting of Michael Brown occurred. The main problem was that we had Darren Wilson’s side of the story, but not Michael Brown’s.

In another display of excessive police force, a man named Eric Gardner was put in an illegal chokehold, and died because of lack of oxygen. Gardner had asthma, and told the police he could not breathe several times before his death. A significant difference in this case versus the Michael Brown case was that a video was taken of the incident. This gives people the chance to witness the event themselves instead of hearing one side of it.

This creates a problem because while technology gives us detailed amounts of information about an incident, not all of it may be true or untampered with. We can see the video of Eric Gardner’s death, but not what occurred before or after, which could heavily affect this case. Some witnesses’ testimonies may not be accurate  or some facts just may be flat out wrong.

But the main problem in these sort of cases, is that we only have the biased opinion of the shooter and not the victim. At least in a video we can have part of the victim’s point of view.

If there had been no video taken, we probably would not have been told Eric Gardner had been desperately pleading with the officers that he could not breathe. The police would have likely ignored this fact, and would have portrayed Gardner as resisting them for no reason.

I think that the simple solution for this dilemma is for all police to wear body-cams, so that we can be supplied the beginning, middle, and end. There would be no cases like Michael Brown, or Eric Gardner, if all police recorded their activities. Police were created to be the human version of the law, but because they are human, they are likely to perform some acts that are not as perfect as the law. It is a lot of power to give to one individual, which is why  sometimes it is not used correctly. The use of body-cams to record police activity would ensure the integrity of the police, and would greatly reduce unnecessary killings.

A police chief recently tested the body-cams on the policemen of the Rialto(CA) Police Department, and found that it greatly diminished the amount of police brutality in the area. With the knowledge that their actions would be observed and judged, the police carefully approached every situation with the knowledge of their rights as well as the person’s rights.

In a time where tensions are high, and the moralities of some policemen are being questioned, the body cams would help to ensure that the police force is abiding and enforcing the law, instead of acting outside of it.