Body Cameras, Police Violence, and Racial Credibility
Response to Iesha S. Nunes, “Hands up, Don’t Shoot”: Police Misconduct and the Need for Body Cameras
Iesha Nunes’s thoughtful and thorough Note, “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot”: Police Misconduct and the Need for Body Cameras, asks us to consider how to address the problem of police violence tied to racial profiling. Using the rallying cry at the heart of the 2014 police shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri—“Hands up. Don’t shoot.”—Nunes’s piece focuses on the difficulty of holding police criminally accountable for assault. The legal critique focuses on the fact that eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable. Nunes’s solution? Arm all law enforcement officers with body cameras. Requiring police to wear body cameras may do some good. However, we must address why Black claims of state violence have historically been dismissed as incredible, non-critical, and rare. We cannot look to cameras (or other technologies), to solve a problem that has historical roots in racial discrimination. Read more.