Criminal Law

Crim. Law Journal Spring 2016, Vol. 16, Issue 2

#BlackLivesRecorded: WILL THE DARLING SAVIOR OF POLICE BRUTALITY BE THE DOWNFALL OF MODERN PRIVACY?

By Elizabeth Atkins*

Introduction

Angry and confused, three women created #BlackLivesMatter after George Zimmerman was acquitted for shooting and killing Treyvon Martin.1 Later, the movement grew as citizens recorded, and shared, incidents of police brutality against minorities, gaining the nation’s attention. It is obvious America still suffers deeply from racial tensions, and sadly, an African-American or black person is eight times more likely to die at the hands of an officer than a white person.2 Racism is still entrenched in the alleged post-racial society we live in today and institutionalized in nearly every facet of daily life.

As a response to the unjustified killing of often unarmed and innocent citizens by police, and the escalating pattern of police militarization and brutality, #BlackLivesMatter and other racially based social movements demanded massive changes in the way police interact with African-Americans and black citizens. One such suggestion has been the encouragement of police work body cameras. Police officers wear body cameras as a part of their normal uniform. Promoters of body cameras state their use will lead to greater transparency, more accountability, and improve interactions with the public.3 A police officer that knows his actions are being recorded and subjected to later scrutiny is more likely to act within the bounds of the law, so the argument goes.

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