Criminal Justice Main Topic Transparency

Police Camera Accountability Now!

West Midlands CT Police Department Creative Commons

The prosecutorial arm of the American legal system is not impartial, and it does not seek justice. Prosecutors are an extension of the policing arm of the Prison-Industrial Complex. They actively withhold exculpatory evidence and imprison innocent people in pursuit of a “tough on crime” cult mentality.

The tragic police murder of Andrew Brown Jr. proves that the use of police cameras do not serve the public interest solely by their use. In that case, the judge limited access to the four or more body/dashcams to only one lawyer for the family. What the lawyer could see was heavily redacted, but it still demostrated that police fired at Andrew Brown Jr. before he fled from them by driving backwards away from them and that he had his hands on the car wheel where police could see them. Just like in the George Floyd case, the police’s initial story is contradicted by video evidence they only released under protest.

The police benefit from a system where it is their word versus ours. They know they are afforded undue trust by an uninvolved public. As long as police and prosecutors are able to pick and choose what footage to release, they will only ever release the barest minimum required for them to fabricate probable cause for their murders.

Police lie. Prosecutors lie. As long as the ability to withhold exculpatory evidence is yeilded to the Prison-Industrial Complex, innocents will suffer. We cannot trust that those with a professional, financial investment in imprisonment are neutral arbiters of guilt.

The prison system is as integral a part of capitalism as apprenticeships and student work-study. It provides human chattel labor to industries too crucial to pay workers a living wage. It is the cudgel that enforces compliance with the wage-slave system.

The Pirate Party will require that all police recordings are available to family and their legal representatives in their full, unedited form. We will put video archiving systems in place so the public can be sure that the videos were not tampered with. Ultimately, police recordings are public recordings and must be available through freedom of information requests while maintaining the privacy rights of those in them who are not public servants. Yet privacy rights should never be an excuse to keep secret the wrong doings of police. State agents cannot expect a right to privacy when they are acting as representatives of the state, especially when those actions harm others.

Cameras are by no means a replacement for police abolition and their replacement with community-centered response teams, but as long as we have them, and as long as public funds are spent on their purchase, they should serve the public good, NOT the Prison-Industrial Complex.

While you are here: We will host the next Pirate Moot this Saturday, May 22nd. We will meet on-line and will discuss organizing and whatever else we want. It will be fine time to socialize and meet other pirates. The moot starts at 4pm and ends at 6pm. Register on-line to get a link to the video conference.

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