Friday, December 12, 2014

Chidike Okeem — Eric Garner, Cameras, and Police Brutality

In the aftermath of Eric Garner's death, the conservative writer argues body cameras are essential to buttressing the justifications used by police to murder black citizens.

Although it is true that cameras on police officers will not guarantee justice for victims of police brutality, cameras are still worth every single dime spent on them. Cameras will inevitably impeach the phantasmagoric stories that immoral police officers create to justify their maiming and murder of black citizens. Cameras may not fix the severely broken American criminal justice system, but if they manage to stymie the proliferation of preposterous white supremacist fables about blacks who react to taking bullets as Popeye reacts to eating spinach, they will serve an important societal function.

The fundamental reason why Michael Brown’s killer, Officer Darren Wilson, was able to manufacture a story that fit the evidence is because there was no camera to record the truth. Because there was no video evidence and there were multiple conflicting witness testimonies, Wilson knew it was ultimately his badge-protected word against the silence of his dead black male victim. No initial statement was taken at the time of his shooting of Michael Brown, so Wilson had time to construct his story. That coupled with the fact that people are so easily fooled into believing that any story that matches evidence must be true, Wilson walked. His fantasy of Michael Brown being a monster that 'hulked up' after receiving bullets is patently nonsensical, but it can be believed in a society where anti-blackness is unquestioningly accepted and there is no video evidence to dispute such a narrative.

Read complete article here