Body cameras may reduce police brutality cases

David Castellucci, Entertainment Editor

Police brutality is a crime that affects not only the victims and thier family members, but also the public’s view of the police force’s trustworthiness. Several recent cases have brought the issue to light.

According to CopBlock, there were 2,541 police “misconduct” reports in 2010 alone. Twenty percent of the reported incidents were listed as “excessive force”, and 13 percent of those cases resulted in a fatality.

With all the reports, states are now trying to limit the number of police brutality claims with the addition of body cameras. Governor Bruce Rauner agreed to the allowance of body cameras to be used in Illinois; however, they are not required to be worn by officers.

Police brutality has been widely acknowledged now more than ever by way of social media, videos, and pictures, sparking the notoriety of abuse and death caused by police related incidents.

One of the most popular ways to hear about police brutality is through the news, which, according to Officer Erin Cook, “has blown police brutality out of proportion”.

“The media is quick to judge and accuse a police officer of wrong doing before they have all the detail and the facts,” Cook said.

Because of the shear number of news reports collaborating assumptions based on opinions of those involved with the incident, police officer Cook feels that police brutality is “over emphasized” and that police are “judged for everything we do.”

John Smith, Human Geo and Governmen teacher, partially agrees. Although Smith has “been threatened by police officers in the past,” it does not necessarily mean that he feels less safe around cops.

“One bad person doesn’t justify not feeling safe,” said Smith. “I have friends who are cops [and] ninety-five percent of them are great people.”

There has also been controversy on what may cause an officer to use extreme force. For instance, race has been seen as a major contributor to how a situation is carried out. Incidents like those involving Michael Brown and Samuel DuBose were reported as race-affiliated fatalities, since both deaths were caused by white officers.

“I do believe race/sex/age/religion/etc. has to do with a way a police officer may react to a situation,” Cook said. However, she does not see that as necessarily negative.

“I believe by being aware of all these things and considering how to approach a person because of that can make a situation be handled that much better,” Cook said.

Police brutality is a serious crime, though not as prevalent as it was fifty years ago. With the help of extensive background checks required by the state, social media websites, and the new addition of body cameras, some are optimistic that police brutality reports will decline.

To report an incident with an officer in the state of Illinois, call (217)-782-5423.