POLICE BRUTALITY : POLICE MISCONDUCT: Glare of Video Is Shifting Publics View of Police

David P. Dillard
 

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POLICE BRUTALITY :

POLICE MISCONDUCT:

Glare of Video Is Shifting Publics View of Police

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Glare of Video Is Shifting Publics View of Police

By Richard Pez-Pe and Timothy Williams

July 30, 2015

New York Times

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/31/us/
through-lens-of-video-a-transformed-view-of-police.html

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A shorter URL for the above link:

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http://tinyurl.com/nf57czh

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They began as workaday interactions between the police and the public, often involving minor traffic stops in places like Cincinnati; North Charleston, S.C.; and Waller County, Tex. But they swiftly escalated into violent encounters. And all were captured on video.

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Those videos, all involving white officers and black civilians, have become ingrained in the nations consciousness to many people, as evidence of bad police conduct. And while they represent just a tiny fraction of police behavior those that show respectful, peaceful interactions do not make the 24-hour cable news they have begun to alter public views of police use of force and race relations, experts and police officials say.

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Videos have provided corroboration of what African-Americans have been saying for years, said Paul Butler, a professor at Georgetown University Law School and a former prosecutor, who called them the C-Span of the streets. On Thursday, the family of Samuel DuBose, an unarmed black man who was shot to death by a University of Cincinnati police officer on July 19, said the officer would never have been prosecuted if his actions had not been captured by the body camera the officer was wearing.

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To the police, that poses a new challenge in trying to regain public confidence. Every time I think maybe were past this and we can start rebuilding, it seems another incident occurs that inflames public outrage, said James Pasco, the executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police. Police officers literally have millions of contacts with citizens every day, and in the vast majority of those interactions, there is no claim of wrongdoing, but thats not news.

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Some polling bolsters such concerns. In a Gallup national survey conducted in June, 52 percent of people said they had a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in the police, down from 57 percent two years earlier, and 64 percent in 2004. In 2007, 37 percent of Americans had high confidence that their local police would treat blacks and whites equally, the Pew Research Center found, but last year that was down to 30 percent.

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At the same time, video may be changing the way prosecutors handle cases in which the police are accused of misconduct. Not only can video contradict an officers account of what happened, it can also create immense public pressure for action against officers.

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The complete article may be read at the URL above.

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