Today is just the latest in a seemingly unending series of days where you wake up, look at the news and shake your head wondering what the fuck we’re going to do about anything. Technology surrounds all these events and consumes them — we get videos of the incidents now and have upgraded to Facebook Live streaming of the murder of black people by police and yet still it seems optimistic to hope that anything will change any time soon. Technology has promised accountability of these incidents but it comes in an inseparable box set with gruesome images, haunting voices and frustrating proof that maybe video evidence still isn’t good enough.
More of that technology will be coming to NYC soon: The NYPD will soon begin test program of installing 1,000 body cameras on its officers in several precincts throughout the city. Now it wants your feedback in this survey on setting the rules for how the cameras will be used — including when officers should turn them on, and who gets to see the footage. Seems like a good day to get your voice heard.
The fairly brief NYPD survey asks whether you agree/disagree with statements such as: “New York City police officers should use body-worn cameras” and in which situations “officers should be required to use body-worn cameras to record:” Options including during arrests, searches of the home and any interactions with the public.
Of course, body cams have their problems: the Baton Rouge officers who killed Alton Sterling say theirs conveniently fell off during the murder. And lots of incidents that have been caught on camera, like Staten Island’s Eric Garner, haven’t led to convictions of the officers involved anyway. NYPD’s program started with 54 cameras and is expanding to 1,000 this summer.
The NYPD is also asking whether you think a person who has an interaction with an officer should be able to see the footage upon request, and whether news reporters or advocacy groups should be able to gain access to the videos too (yes, please).
The survey is in conjunction with the NYU School of Law’s Policing Project. Details on the NYPD’s proposed camera program can be found here.
If you’re feeling like you need to have your voice heard in a more public way, there’s a Justice for Alton Sterling & Philando Castile rally in Union Square this evening.
(h/t Ariel Abramowitz)