Wednesday, August 17, 2022

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III. OUR DUTY MOVING FORWARD

Police officers overstep their legal boundaries because they exist within a culture of abuse. That culture employs an “us and them” dichotomy to justify its existence and the behavior it supports. The ability of this mentality to produce seemingly inhuman behavior has been documented elsewhere. In the Stanford Prison Experiment, college students screened for normality and divided into groups of guards and prisoners rapidly developed a shockingly brutal culture even in the confines of a temporary experiment. The abuse of captives at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq committed by U.S. soldiers serves as another example of what happens when human beings are viewed as somehow “other.” Fortunately, video surveillance is the perfect means of preventing this type of misconduct. It has been repeatedly shown, and it is intuitively true, that people alter their behavior for the better when they believe they are being watched.

As a result, this Note argues that it is the moral duty of every civilian, irrespective of the state of the law, to combat police brutality through video surveillance. The history of civil disobedience in this country is strong, and it should be continued. The days of Black Panthers marching the streets with shotguns have passed, but we remain capable of patrolling the streets. Law students are in a unique position to facilitate this fight. Students across the country must take up the work that members of the Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law and Policy will engage in this year, informing the people that not only is surveillance the most effective means at our disposal of combating police misconduct, but that it is our right and duty to record police on public duty whenever possible.
 

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