Posted in COMMENTARY

BODY CAMS ON POLICE – 2 WAYS THEY NEED TO WORK

Ohio cop indicted on murder charge in traffic-stop shooting – Yahoo News

Associated Press

By LISA CORNWELL

CINCINNATI (AP) — A University of Cincinnati officer who shot a motorist during a traffic stop over a missing front license plate has been indicted on murder charges, a prosecutor said Wednesday, adding that the officer “purposely killed him” and “should never have been a police officer.”

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters announced the grand jury indictment at a news conference to discuss developments in the investigation into the July 19 shooting of 43-year-old motorist Samuel DuBose by Officer Ray Tensing…

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via Ohio cop indicted on murder charge in traffic-stop shooting – Yahoo News.


MY COMMENT: Sure, this senseless act of violence that ended in the death of Samuel DuBose by Officer Ray Tensing over a simple traffic stop resulted in murder charges against the officer. Had the officer not been wearing a police body cam, chances are the murder charges never would have been considered, and the word of the officer regarding what happened at that routine traffic stop would have been accepted.

I believe like many others that all police should be required to wear them. A body cam should be as essential to the uniform as the badge and the gun. You don’t go out on a call without it. Cost should not be a factor, given the amount we allow yearly for the military budget. We need to protect both the police and the citizen – at home – from instances like the one described here. There has to be a way for congress to fund body cams for all officers.

Though the proof provided by the video gives the family some comfort and some relief, it will not bring back Samuel DuBois. An officer will likely spend the rest of his life in prison, but again a little comfort, a little relief for justice being served won’t bring back to life Samuel Dubois.

What I find striking is that the body cam seems to work only after the fact, to prove or disprove what actually happens in an encounter between a police officer and a citizen.

It doesn’t seem, at least in this case, to work as a deterrent for certain officers to commit acts of violence during encounters.

One would think, knowing that one is wearing a body cam ( after all, an officer puts it in place), that an officer would be more cognizant of their actions, knowing  the camera is rolling.

I saw the video. You don’t shoot somebody in the head because he can’t produce a driver’s license, he has a bottle of gin in the car, and slowly rolls the vehicle forward. If anything, the officer should have told him ( if he thought he was drunk and unable to drive safely) to do a field sobriety test or leave the car behind and take him to be processed under a DUI charge.

But he wasn’t stopped for not driving safely. He was stopped for not having a plate on the front of the car. I’ve lived in places where a front plate wasn’t required. I don’t know why some states, at least back then, didn’t require it. It should be required in all fifty states to have a plate in the front and back of every vehicle. Somebody probably thought it would save somebody money. This time it cost a person his life, when the officer popped.

Officers popping, then, is the real issue.

And that’s where the education and counselling of officers needs to begin. It needs to be a nationwide effort (none of this ‘let the states decide’ mentality). We are not fifty nations under one flag – we are fifty states under one flag.

So in sum, body cams need to work 2 ways : as proof of what really happened, and as a deterrent to both the officer and the citizen. This time, the citizen did not appear in any way to be a threat to the officer. He obviously didn’t have a driver’s license on him; he did not become belligerent; and he handed over the bottle of gin. Maybe even, the citizen had his foot on the brake, whereby the car was not secured stationary (in park), which resulted in a ‘slow roll’ forward. The officer should have noted that and instructed the citizen to secure the car. Instead he popped – and that’s where we are now. One dead and another likely to spend the rest of his life in prison. The families of two people shattered – all because one cop couldn’t control his rage.

Personally I think that post 9-11, cops in the USA began treating every individual like an enemy combatant. Businesses of all types, including hospitals and clinics all started using the same method, whereby the consumers are always wrong; they don’t have a right to ask questions or have their questions answered, all meant to control the individual to their benefit. It all needs to change.


While we’re talking about body cams on all officers, how about body cams on all surgeons and operating room personnel? It could save billions of dollars paid out for insurance claims over loss of limbs and lives.



BLACK STRIPE


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© 2017 by Sharon Lee Davies-Tight, artist, author, animal-free chef, activist

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