North Charleston police to wear body cameras via mayoral executive order

Posted by Paityn Langley

A 33 year-old white cop, Michael Slager, was charged with murder for shooting and killing a black man, Walter Scott. After being pulled over for a broken tale light and confronted, Scott ran away from Slager. It was then that Slager shot and killed Scott.

A bystander, Feidin Santana, captured Scott’s last moments on film, which he then provided to Scott’s immediate family. The family’s lawyer, Chris Stewart, having had confirmation from the family, provided the video to the New York Times where it was published.

Many debate whether or not the publishing of the video was entirely necessary. Given the recent increase in cases of this nature, it is said by many journalism professionals that the video needed to be published to ensure overall transparency.

In an attempt to do right by Scott and his family, Mayor of North Charleston, Keith Summey, announced that all police officials, from this point forward, will be required to wear body cameras to record their interactions with the public. While 101 body cameras were approved as a part of a grant, Summey confirmed that 150 more will need to be obtained “so that every officer who is on the street will have a body camera.”

After cases such as Michael Brown and Trayvonn Martin, many individuals are relieved that steps are being made to incarcerate Slager and bring justice to Scott and his family. Needless to say, it is deeply saddening to me that it took up until this point for actions to be taken.

Many believe that we are currently living in a post-racial society, though endless events have suggested otherwise. Open discussions about actions driven by racial profiling will, indeed, help to resolve the high resentment that these opposing communities, law officials versus racial minorities, feel towards one another. But, after years of distrust, dishonestly, and disrespect, conversations are only the beginning to a long and challenging, yet necessary, social reform. We must work on developing the ideals of these conversations into normative practices.

It is direly important to remember that, despite color of skin, we are all human. It is about time we should treat each other as such.

What are your thoughts on this case? Should Slager be convicted of murder? Will body cameras help to decrease racial tension between police officials and racial minorities? What does this say about us, as a community, that it takes something as extreme as wiring all officials with body cameras to ensure justice to all members?

Advertisements

3 responses to “North Charleston police to wear body cameras via mayoral executive order

  1. I agree with you, and am disappointed that it took this long in order to let the police’s activity (in these related cases, specifically) be transparent to the public; but overall I’m glad they’re finally moving forward with the cameras. I think the cameras, even though a small improvement in one town, are a good step in the right direction when it comes to the justice we need in light of all the recent deaths (in particular, black deaths by white cops.) Maybe it’s coincidental, but I think there is some serious racial issues behind these events, even though it’s hard to prove.

    Will the cameras make these racial issues more transparent and bring them to the surface? Like I said, a step in the right direction, but probably not enough to make a huge difference yet.

  2. I agree, Molly. Many are arguing that body cameras aren’t going to stop the underlying issue. While this is true, I do believe that we are taking a step in the right direction. No matter how small it may seem, at this point, any effort is worth the impact. Especially if that means saving innocent lives.

  3. While I completely agree that cameras are necessary in order for the truth to come out in these specific cases, I’m worried about the privacy of citizens when police officials will have cameras on their bodies at all times. Technology is becoming more and more prevalent in society, and I think we have to be careful as to how much the government uses it for everyday use.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s