Wednesday, August 17, 2022

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II. THROUGH THE MODERN DAY

The recent progress of technology has provided a means of protecting our communities that is much safer and arguably more effective than armed civilian patrols--the cell phone. We now have a tool that produces the strongest possible evidence of police brutality and is available at a moment's notice to the majority of the U.S. population. Some might expect that those most at risk of police brutality--the poor--cannot afford this modern convenience. However, studies have shown that households below the poverty line rely exclusively on cell phones at a much higher rate than their more wealthy counterparts. Cellular phones “have become more affordable. And the barrier to owning one is lower with pay-as-you-go plans.” In the face of video evidence, it is likely significantly more difficult for complaint review boards and juries to exonerate officers from meritorious claims. Unfortunately, as with the advent of complaint review boards, the backlash against this development has been strong and swift. Police departments have taken to arresting and charging citizen activists under clearly misapplied wiretapping statutes. Even in jurisdictions that unequivocally provide for legal surveillance of police, officers have displayed a willingness to prevent or destroy the resulting evidence and to arrest the civilians behind cameras on other frivolous charges. This has occurred even in violation of direct orders from superior officers.

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