As we approach the first anniversary of George Floyd’s death, there is one thing that is certain. That is, his post-murder protests and proceedings in Minneapolis could never have happened without a bystander video. Videos of many cases throughout the country are changing law enforcement from police training to prosecution. This has changed over the course of 30 years.
A scorching video of four LAPD police officers who beat Rodney King 30 years ago shocked the country. After the police officer was acquitted, it caused a trial and a five-day riot. In 2009, there were numerous videos recording Oscar Grant’s shootings by transit police officers in Oakland, California. Five years ago, Philland Castilla’s girlfriend livestreamed his death online after being shot by a police officer in the suburbs of Minneapolis while transportation was stopped.
During Derek Chauvin’s trial, this year the prosecutor told the jury, “Believe what you saw,” and they did — Chauvin guilty of murder and manslaughter. I understood. This was an example of a change in people’s view of incidents involving the use of force by police. It showed the evolution of the police force. Guided by video clips and police policy, several Minneapolis police officers, including the police chief, testified to Chauvin.
There are graphic videos of police encounters, but not all videos go to court. The legal standards for rules of evidence regarding the reliability and authenticity of videos are high. Still, Mary Fan, a professor at the University of Washington Law School studying how audiovisual technology is reshaping police, says there has been a dramatic change in the amount of video used in the proceedings.
“The evidence in the video is unstable and emotional, giving people the feeling of looking at an objective window to what actually happened, and now we can understand it,” fans say. I will.
Video was the protagonist of Chauvin’s trial. At the witness stand, experts analyzed the video. They gave detailed testimony about a few seconds in a bystander video showing a former Minneapolis police officer resting his knees on George Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes. Another video from a police-wearing camera shows the fierce struggle that took place when police officers tried to get a handcuffed Floyd in the backseat of a police car.
With the increasing use of video in proceedings, lawyers are also more sophisticated in harnessing that power. The prosecution and defense provided different interpretations of the tragic scene of George Floyd’s arrest, but it is important to have the jury watch the video from the same perspective. Keith Ellison, Minnesota Attorney General, who organized the prosecution team, said he had a lot of thought about how to best use the video.
“We wanted to emphasize the witnesses’ testimony and help the jury understand the case rather than dump the video on them,” Ellison said. So they asked questions such as “Can I overplay the video? Can I overover the video and make people insensitive?”
Sharon Fairy, a law professor at the University of Chicago, said the video could be evidence of a very strong trial. Former federal prosecutor Fairy led the Chicago Police Department’s investigation into the illegal activity after the judge ordered the release of a video of the controversial police shooting. It showed the 2014 shooting of 17-year-old Lacan McDonald by Chicago police officer Jason van Dyck. Van Dyck was convicted of his second murder. Fairy warns that the video does not guarantee a conviction during the trial, but adds that there are other ways in which it may be useful.
“I’ve seen a lot of these videos come out in the last few weeks and it’s really hard to see,” she says. “They are heartbreaking, but it’s important because it’s a way for us to learn how police stations operate and we can make changes as needed.”
Fairy calls it a calculation of how we see the police and how police officers learn to do their jobs.
Police stations often use videos in training workshops. They review certain encounters to get officers to think ahead of time about the steps they can take to prevent them. Chuck Wexler is the secretary-general of the Police Enforcement Research Forum, an organization of law enforcement officers and others working on police specialization. He says he believes that videos of bystanders at the Chauvin trial and videos of police-wearing cameras will change the way police stations train police officers in the future.
“Previously, police said they didn’t want to do a quarterback on Monday morning,” Wechsler says. “The video makes us think about how we train our officers, what to do, and how to intervene. Therefore, if you have an officer who has received a series of complaints, you should wear it. You can check the cameras you are wearing to see if their behavior has changed. “
There have been some changes. The state of New York banned the use of strangulation after the deaths of George Floyd and previously killed Eric Garner in 2014 after a New York Police Department strangled him. Both men repeatedly shouted that they could not breathe when they were detained by the police. In Chicago and elsewhere, police are obliged to intervene if other police officers witness excessive use of force or abuse of suspects. Body camera video will be a witness.
Thousands of police officers wear body cameras, but many do not. There are about 18,000 law enforcement agencies in the country, and the Justice Department says only about half have the technology. According to Professor Michael White of Arizona State University, co-director of Justice Department training, camera-less law enforcement agencies are hampered by the cost of technology and the money needed to store and maintain hundreds of hours of data. Often mentioned. Wearing camera program.
“But I think the train left the station,” says White. “Several things have prompted the adoption of this policy, one of which is public demand. The general public expects to wear the camera worn by police officers, and an incident has occurred. If there is no video, the community will be upset. ”
According to White, the new grant program will help small police stations pay for cameras.
However, there are still many uncertainties about whether technology will actually help. One of the main goals of using a worn camera is to reduce police illegal activity and the use of force by police. The results are mixed. For example, during Chauvin’s trial, a police officer in the suburbs of Minneapolis, who wore a body camera, shot and killed 20-year-old Duantelite while transportation was stopped. Police say she intended to use a taser instead of a pistol. She has been charged with manslaughter.
Although tragic events continue, one of the latest studies on the use of a worn camera shows that the technology is beneficial and cost-effective. Police stations where police officers wear body cameras have reduced police complaints by 17% and use of force by nearly 10%, according to a study conducted by the Criminal Justice Council and the University of Chicago Criminology Institute. did. Researchers say it’s a step, not a panacea. What are the other benefits? The video can verify police abuse allegations that have often been dismissed, but it can also protect police officers who may be unfairly accused.
How the use of video in Chauvin trials affects criminal justice: NPR
Source link How the use of video in Chauvin trials affects criminal justice: NPR