Body Cameras NOT to the Rescue!
During the previous onslaught of repeated media grabbing stories and attention depicting possible police brutality, shootings, and all around unlawful prejudicial minority harassment; a recurrent solution was constantly thrown into conversations—Body Cameras. Well, it seems that expert and popular opinions were off base. The story of the 32 year old jaywalker, Johnnie Jermaine Rush, arguably illustrates the flaw in their proposed solution.
Now, it is not to say that the solution is totally and utterly useless. The assumption that body camera undeniably deter people from acting unlawful or biased toward people of color due to the scrutiny of “Big Brother,” stands upon a chair missing a leg or two. The experts assume that possibly captured images of unlawful treatment by police officers exhibiting wrongful attitudes and actions toward Blacks and Brown people would not only lead to disciplinary measures, but also deter officer mistreatment.
This takes one to be conscious that their racially based actions are not acceptable. But most people feel there are not racist. Most people unconsciously are blind to the white racial frame that has influenced them, their thoughts, and their actions toward people of color. They are right, while those of a different hue are wrong. They are human and civilized, and Black and Brown are not. They are worthy of human rights, and people of color are not. This mentality is difficult to keep in check when everything around you supports your ideology.
Therefore, in the case of officer Senior Police Officer Christopher Hickman, he may have simply acted from an unconscious place riddled with hate and disdain. When society supports a racist ideology and preaches racialized division, how does one know they are wrong when acting in accordance to the society around them?
Terence Fitzgerald Clinical Associate Professor of Social Work
Clinical Associate Professor focused on policy, family and children, social inequality, and institutional racism.