Ten years ago, Black Lives Matter was founded in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman in shooting Trayvon Martin to death the year before, as well as the long history of the police and justice system failing to treat black lives with the same respect as others. The pressure caused by this rapidly growing movement forced police across the country to consider a new way to show that they took being held accountable seriously: the bodycam. In 2014, President Obama requested $263 Million in Federal funds be spent on equipping police with body camera technology. Finally, officers would know that they couldn’t abuse their power without being called on it.
The next decade, we now know, told a different tale. When being implemented, one key factor was left entirely up to the police themselves: control of bodycam footage. Given the ability to see what their fellow officers were doing on the streets every day, the police by and large decided no one else needed to see that. At best, the public could see highly-edited, police friendly versions of what happened, and that was often long after any reasonable accountability could result from it. It is not a wild claim to say that had bodycam footage been publicly accessible, George Floyd might still be alive today. We devote this episode of TMI to this truly crucial topic: why we reach for silver bullet solutions when reforming those wielding the silver guns is the best way of enacting effective change. All this and more on TMI for Friday, December 29, 2023 – listen in for YOUR Cure for the Common Media!