It is no secret police have gotten away with brutality for way too long. It’s also not a secret white police are highly favored in the justice system, but body cameras will decrease the advantage and allow San Marcos residents to come face-to-face with the ugly injustice of law enforcement.
Police body cameras have the ability to show San Marcos residents what exactly happened in an officer encounter. The majority of cops are good people who do the right thing. However, cameras are a pivotal step in shining light on racial disparity in this day of distrust between the black community and law enforcement. Body cameras will show the truths of an investigation and finally hold officers accountable for their unjustified actions.
The state legislature agrees, body cameras should assist with the investigation process, and they offered $10 million last year to help local departments buy thousands. San Marcos will receive $50, 914 to purchase the equipment. Is spending so much money on new technology really worth it?
The answer is yes. Although San Marcos does not have as many police brutality incidents as other cities, there are concerns of racial profiling and reporting methods. The community will benefit from ensuring proper procedure is being followed and removing the mystery of some officer-involved shootings.
With this new law, police must retain the video for a minimum of 90 days and must also have backup copies. A recording created with a body camera involving the use of deadly force may not be deleted, destroyed or released to the public until the criminal matter has been resolved.
Some students are happy about the extra protection for SMPD and surrounding cities.
“I’ve encountered a SMPD officer acting racist who treated my situation unfairly,” said Brittney Lanaux, criminal justice senior. “If the officer was wearing a body camera, I think that my outcome may have turned differently.”
In no arena is the disadvantage of minorities more clear and devastating than within the criminal justice system. Similar to Lanaux’s incident, many other victims of police abuse may have also received a different outcome. Victims such as Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Mike Brown and many more.
There has not been a significant increase in the number of racial injustice incidents, but we have seen more due to evolving technologies. The increase in footage and horrifying news reports allows people to see the ugly reality of police in America, and body cameras will only further highlight the issue.
Put body cameras on every cop. Cameras will hold cops accountable for their unjustified actions, therefore forcing everyone to acknowledge racial injustice. This is a concrete step we must take to minimize the lack of faith in law enforcement officials as they explain their behavior. Police may lie, but videos do not.