The NYPD held a media event today to show off the brand new body cameras that will be worn by a mere 60 officers as part of a pilot program. The use of such cameras was suggested by Judge Shira Scheindlin during last year's stop and frisk trial. The judge believes, as do many others, that video of interactions between cops and the citizens they are paid to protect and serve will bring more transparency and accountability. That's thinking anyway.
But what good will these cameras be if even cops caught on video using an illegal chokehold that resulted in the death of a father of six walk free? We've all seen the video. I think we can assume that the grand jury saw the video. And yet, again, no one will be held accountable for a death that was ruled a homicide by the medical examiner and that was brought about with a chokehold that has been banned for NYPD use for over 20 years.
What else did the grand jury need?
The cops on that Staten Island street believed that Eric Garner needed to be arrested for the crime of selling untaxed "loosie" cigarettes. The members of the grand jury didn't believe that there even needed to be a trial for a homicide caught all too vividly in full color video.
I think we can all agree that putting body cameras on cops is probably a good thing. But let's not fool ourselves that there's a tech fix to problems like this.
(image via Okay Player)